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    Submissions to Select Committee

    By HEF Admin | February 6, 2006


    Submission By Family Integrity To Justice and Electoral Committee re. Crimes Amendment Bill

    25 February 2006
    Submission
    To the Justice and Electoral Select Committeeon theCrimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill

    This submission is from Family Integrity, PO Box 9064, (33 Matamau St.), Palmerston North.

    The National Director of Family Integrity, Craig Smith (Palmerston North), wishes to make a personal presentation of this submission before the Committee.

    Introduction

    The Bill’s author promotes this Bill as a measure to stop violence against children. There are already laws against this. So what makes this Bill distinctive?

    It will outlaw any form of discipline, correction or training that requires force.

    It is not a Bill against violence: it is a Bill against parental use of force in the discipline, correction or training of their own children.

    This Bill will criminalise any parental use of force with their own children. If you cannot use force, you cannot back up your authority. This Bill will transfer all legitimate use of force towards children from their parents to the state and its agents: Police and social workers. The status of school teachers and their recourse to the use of force is going to be very problematic. This Bill will destroy all real parental authority over their own children. Responsible, hands-on parenting will become a criminal activity. Traditional parenting will be driven underground and have less legal status and protection than prostitution.

    The Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill is mostly composed of an Explanatory Note and then simply repeals Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961. Therefore this submission is organised in the following manner:

    I. A Look at Section 59 Itself
    II. A Look at the Bill
    III. Unintended Consequences
    IV. Refutation of arguments in favour of this Bill.
    V. The Committee’s Responsibilities
    VI. Recommendations

    I. Section 59 Itself
    Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 is bracketed with Section 60 in their own little sub category titled: “Powers of Discipline”. Here they are together:

    59.Domestic discipline—
    (1)Every parent of a child and, subject to subsection (3) of this section, every person in the place of the parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.
    (2)The reasonableness of the force used is a question of fact.
    (3)Nothing in subsection (1) of this section justifies the use of force towards a child in contravention of section 139A of the Education Act 1989.

    60.Discipline on ship or aircraft—
    (1)The master or officer in command of a ship on a voyage or the pilot in command of an aircraft on a flight is justified in using and ordering the use of force for the purpose of maintaining good order and discipline on board his ship or aircraft if he believes on reasonable grounds that the use of force is necessary, and if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.
    (2)Every one acting in good faith is justified in using force in obedience to any order given by the master or officer or pilot in command for the purpose aforesaid, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.
    (3)The reasonableness of the grounds of which the use of force was believed to be necessary, and the reasonableness of the force used, are questions of fact.

    Would the Committee please consider the following points?

    A. The law as it stands in Sections 59 & 60 recognises parents, pilots and ship captains as having legitimate authority to use limited force in order to fulfil their responsibilities to their charges, be they children or passengers.

    B. Repeal of S. 59 will remove this authority from parents only, but not from pilots or captains or “Everyone acting in good faith” on a ship or aircraft, even though these last may use “reasonable force” against any child for the purposes mentioned.

    C. In fact, Sections 72 & 73 of the Child Protection Act 2004 give various people (Police, social workers or “any other person named in the warrant” issued by a NZ Court) the authority to seek out and to use “reasonable force” to take possession of a child and deliver the child elsewhere.

    D. Sections 39, 40 & 42 of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 give Police and social workers the authority to use “force” (the modifier “reasonable” is not used in these Sections of the Act) to seek out and to detain and remove children from wherever they happen to be, except a hospital. Sections 39 & 40 require a warrant issued by a NZ Court to do this. Section 42 gives Police the authority to do this without a warrant.

    E. Sections 39, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48, 52, 53, 55, 56 & 58 of the Crimes Act also give Joe Bloggs citizen the authority to use force against children in certain situations for certain reasons, just as Section 59 gives parents authority to use force with their children for certain reasons.

    F. This Bill is obviously more interested in banning parents from using force with their own children to correct them than it is interested in banning the use of force against children per se.

    G. Acts of violence and abuse against children are already made illegal by several Sections of the Crimes Act (Sections 188, 189, 193, 194 & 195 for starters). Therefore to repeal Section 59 to stop violence against children is completely redundant.

    H. Contrary to claims made by promoters of this Crimes Amendment Bill, Section 59 clearly does not condone violence or abuse against children. It only condones force that is hedged about by two considerations: that the force is reasonable in the circumstances and that it used by way of correction (not as punishment, to vent anger, take revenge, save face, etc.).

    I. This is a brilliant piece of legislation. It allows parents to go about their parenting tasks wherein they have to correct and discipline and train and do a myriad of tasks for their children and to their children for the children’s good, without fear of being charged with assault, since it is common for children to object and struggle against the parents’ wishes, requests, requirements and prohibitions.

    J. Parents need the protection from a charge of assault that Section 59 provides because of the exceedingly broad definition of assault in Section 2 of the Crimes Act 1961: Assault means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to the person of another, directly or indirectly, or threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force to the person of another, if the person making the threat has, or causes the other to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose. (Note that physical contact is not needed to commit assault: a gesture interpreted in a certain way will do. If Section 59 is repealed, and a child interpreted a mum putting her finger to her lips as if saying, “If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to come over there and put my hand over your mouth,” then the mum has committed assault against the child simply by making the gesture.)

    K. Parents do a lot more than gesture toward their children or make suggestions: they issue orders and make requirements of their children as part of their unique task to train a sense of orderliness, responsibility, propriety, work ethic, duty, etc., into their children. Paid baby sitters and/or teachers and/or other professional helpers are not expected to be responsible for this training, whereas parents are. Consequently parents will routinely follow up their verbal commands and requirements and prohibitions with physical guidance, restraint, manoeuvrings, manipulations, warnings, pinches, taps or smacks as required.

    L. If parents did not ensure, by force when necessary, that their children were fed, clothed, sheltered, washed and rested properly, but only relied on their children going along with parental suggestions in these areas, the parents could be charged with neglect under Sections 152 & 154 of the Crimes Act.

    M. Section 59 as worded will flex with the understandings and attitudes prevalent in the society of the day, as represented by the judge/jury.

    II. The “Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill”
    The Bill is very short, only one and a half pages. The largest part is the Explanatory Note which says:

    The purpose of this Bill is to stop force, and associated violence and harm under the pretence of domestic discipline, being inflicted on children. Presently, section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 acts as a justification, excuse or defence for parents and guardians using force against their children where they are doing so for the purposes of correction and the force used is reasonable in the circumstances. The Bill will repeal that provision. The effect of this amendment is that the statutory protection for use of force by parents and guardians will be removed. They will now be in the same position as everyone else so far as the use of force against children is concerned. The use of force on a child may constitute an assault under section 194(a) of the Crimes Act, a comparatively new provision in the criminal law, and the repeal of section 59 ought not revive any old common law justification, excuse or defence that the provision may have codified.

    Would the Committee please consider the following points?

    A. The Bill’s very title is nonsense. It says, “Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline”. No one has ever used Force or the concept of Force as a justification or reason why one would discipline a child. Perhaps the Bill’s author meant to say, “Abolition of Force as a Method of Child Discipline.” This nonsense right at the beginning of the Bill plus the disastrous side effects it would cause (see section on Unintended Consequences following) demonstrate that the Bill was conceived and written in haste and carelessly considered.

    B. The first sentence is misleading, for this Bill will criminalize all force, not just that associated with violence and harm, including all forms of “reasonable” force today considered by virtually everyone as normal aspects of day-to-day domestic discipline.

    C. Violence, harm and abuse against children (unreasonable force) are already illegal. What then is the obvious purpose or consequence of this Bill? It is to criminalize both “reasonable force” and all parents who would use reasonable force in the task of parenting, correcting, training or disciplining their children. Repeal of S. 59 is therefore unnecessary, unwarranted, unwise and unwanted.

    D. This Note makes it clear that the effect of repeal is to remove protection from parents who would use “reasonable force” with their children. Use of any force at all by a parent with his/her child, reasonable or unreasonable, would at all times technically constitute criminal child assault, as this Note is quick to point out later on, if this Bill were ever passed. This Bill would have virtually every parent in the land constantly and continuously exposed to the charge of criminal child assault simply for going about their everyday parenting responsibilities. This Bill effectively criminalizes effective parenting.

    E. This Bill wants to see all parents reduced to “the same position as everyone else so far as the use of force against children is concerned.” This is daft for at least two reasons. 1) Without the ability to back up one’s authority (one’s requirements and prohibitions) with force, one does not have any real authority. Imagine the police or IRD being unable to back up their authority with force: they’d be reduced to making mere suggestions people could easily choose to ignore, since no one cold force negative sanctions upon them. 2) Stripping parents of their authority to use force with their own children ignores the unique relationship of responsibility for training and discipline parents are expected to have with their children, an expectation that is not laid on the “everyone else” mentioned in this Note.

    F. Since parenting requires force of many kinds (obedience to verbal command, physical movement, smacking, intimidation, warning of negative consequences, appeal to family tradition or conscience or culture or religious commitment, withholding privileges, physically restraining, imposing restrictions, time-out, confinement to room, etc.), effective parenting will be outlawed in that parents could legally force their children to do only what “everyone else” could legally force children to do: virtually nothing. It is the need parents have to be authorised to use reasonable force on a day by day basis with their children that makes the retention of Section 59 so important.

    G. The Note goes out of its way to warn parents that using force could constitute child assault under Section 194(a): “Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who assaults any child under the age of 14 years.” It is clear that far more than unreasonable force that causes violence and harm will be prohibited by this Bill: all the other acts of parenting which require reasonable force technically will, by legal definition (Section 2 of the Crimes Act), become acts of assault. Virtually every parent will become a criminal overnight.

    H. The reference in this Note to excluding any common law justification demonstrates that this Bill is meant to represent a break with our historical precedents, our connection with centuries of British common law and other understandings in law and an embarkation into a brave new world.

    I. This Bill appears to be a form of cultural imperialism. A fringe minority group that views any use of force as unacceptable, harmful violence and abuse, is attempting to use the power of the state to enforce its particular philosophical hegemony over the majority of New Zealanders. Section 59 allows many types of parenting styles and philosophies and methodologies to co-exist. This Bill only allows for those parenting styles that agree with the Bill’s extremist philosophy.

    J. This Bill seeks to criminalize parenting styles, philosophies and methodologies that do not agree with the extremist views expressed in the Bill. This is highly intolerant and an unethical use of Parliamentary power. It is also unacceptable if New Zealand is to call itself a pluralistic, diversity-celebrating, inclusive society.

    K. This Bill will ban smacking, and as such is clearly out of touch with the majority view. Properly conducted surveys, such as the one commissioned by the Ministry of Justice in 2001 and performed by the National Research Bureau, show that 80% of New Zealanders oppose a ban on smacking. (See www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/reports/2001/children/ex-summary.html.)

    III. This Bill Has Many Highly Damaging Unintended Consequences

    A. Section 59 of the Crimes Act is titled “Domestic Discipline”. Repeal of S. 59 would remove “Domestic Discipline” from the law. All parents would be legally disallowed, dis-empowered, unauthorised from employing discipline with their children as it of necessity involves the use of force. The whole reason behind the existence of Section 59 in the first place assumes just this point: that the discipline, the training, the correction of children requires parents to use force. It is an inescapable, integral part of a parent’s responsibilities in raising children: to discipline, and to use force as is inescapably required, to ensure children do those things they are required to do and do not do those things they are forbidden to do by their parents, society and the laws of the land. This Bill repealing S. 59 would remove from parents their legal authority as well as their effective ability to discipline their own children.

    B. If parents cannot back up these requirements and prohibitions with force, then their parental directives to their children are reduced to mere suggestions that they hope their children will follow. Prohibiting parents from using force will of necessity remove most of the parents’ authority over their own children. This happens in exactly the same way that prohibiting the use of force by the Police, the courts, the IRD, city councils, etc., would reduce each of these authorities to making suggestions they could not enforce on anyone. Parents must have the legal authority to use force, as force is necessary to discipline children, for society could not function where the children entirely ignored their parents.

    C. Letter from Craig Smith, National Director of Family Integrity, Palmerston North, 26 July 2005, to Commissioner of Police, Rob Robinson, Wellington: “Dear Mr Robinson, Should Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed, what assurances can you give to the parents of New Zealand that they will not be charged with assault under Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act if they subsequently were to smack their child(ren) on the clothed buttocks with an open hand by way of corrective discipline?” Reply from Dr A. Jack, Legal Services, Police Commissioner’s Office, 11 August 2005: “Dear Mr Smith, If Section 59 was repealed in its entirety, parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction….However, smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an assault.” Despite protests from the Bill’s author, Sue Bradford, and Children’s Commissioner Dr. Cindy Kiro, this letter unambiguously confirms that the ancient and nearly universal parental practice of smacking will definitely become a form of assault. (Dr Jack’s letter is included as Appendix A). The Bill clearly aims to ban smacking for correction or training and to criminalize any parent who would ever smack a child for these good and necessary reasons, for no justification is left in law for these reasons.

    D. Dr Jack further says: “If Section 59 was repealed in its entirety, parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction.” Parents’ authority over their children will be severely compromised: if they cannot even use “reasonable force”, then they clearly cannot legally use any force at all. All parents will have their hands tied.

    E. Even the favoured alternative method of discipline – time out – cannot be enforced without the use of force. It will also be criminalized, meaning virtually every parent in the country will be constantly exposed to being charged with criminal assault.

    F. How could parents ensure the following requirements without the use of force if the child refused to obey? These examples all seem ridiculous, yet this will be the technical outcome if S. 59 is repealed.
    1. Being clothed properly for the weather or clothed at all.
    2. Eating a balanced diet.
    3. Getting adequate rest.
    4. Wearing a seat belt in the car and a helmet while cycling.
    5. Just getting into the car
    6. Accompanying the parent lest the child be left at home alone.

    G. How could parents prohibit the following without the use of force if the child was determined to do it? These examples all seem ridiculous, yet this will be the technical outcome if S. 59 is repealed.
    1. Drinking, smoking, ingesting or injecting either legal or illegal substances adults can be seen to consume or that the child just wants to try.
    2. Watching pornographic and Adult Only rated TV shows and videos.
    3. Destroying private and public property at every opportunity.
    4. Wandering off anywhere with anyone at anytime of day or night without telling anyone at home.
    5. Keeping company with people likely to be injurious to the child’s well-being.
    6. Lying, cheating, stealing.

    H. Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act provides for a maximum two years in jail for assault upon a child under 14. Parents who today perform parenting acts that are considered by the vast majority as being well within “reasonable force” will face prison terms for doing these same acts of parenting after repeal since they will have no legal defence whatsoever. This will introduce a huge increase of a very serious form of child abuse: to threaten children and their parents with the stress and fear of prosecution; to actually imprison parents, as will inevitably happen, for using a perfectly acceptable show of force with their children; to remove children to foster homes, separating them from loving, caring responsible parents who are simply caught up in or being made examples of with the new regulations (see point U below and Appendix B).

    I. Virtually every parent has strong convictions about the need to use force in its many forms (see list in Section II. F above) while engaged in the business of child rearing, convictions borne of religious faith, family traditions, ethnic backgrounds, cultural practices, philosophical commitments, common sense and the like. They are all backed by thousands of years of successful parenting practises that utilise force. This huge sector of society will suddenly have their beliefs and convictions criminalized if Section 59 is repealed. This will surely lead to widespread civil disobedience. Many of New Zealand’s most conscientious parents will be stigmatised as criminals and some will inevitably end up in court cases or in jail (see point U below and Appendix B).

    J. Parents technically commit assault, as defined in Section 2 of the Crimes Act 1961 (see point I. J above), against their children all the time: i.e., whenever they impose their will upon the child. It happens nearly every moment of every day as they brush the child’s hair, change its clothes, wipe its bottom, make it wash its hands and eat its veggies and go to bed at a certain time, confine it to its room, etc., all of which would be acts of assault if committed on non-consenting adults.

    K. Repealing S.59 will make parenting a fearful and impossible task as the parents constantly wonder when they will be charged with assault. Effective parenting will effectively be outlawed.

    L. Any report that a parent had smacked a child would have to be investigated, irrespective of whether the child had suffered any harm or not. This means children and parents from loving, non-dysfunctional homes could end up being investigated and in court. The Police Commissioner has already stated that if the defense of reasonable force were to be abolished, smacking definitely would be considered as an assault….and so would many other acts of parenting (see Section III. D-G above). If the parent’s employment involved work with children as a child minder, youth worker or member of school staff, the charge of child assault would almost certainly lead to the parent losing his or her job.

    M. There would be a very real danger that genuinely abused children would not receive the help they need because the authorities would be wasting time with non-dysfunctional families. Such misappropriation of child protection resources would expose abused children to increased risk of harm.

    N. If parents are legally prohibited from using any form of force, some may resort to shouting at their children, verbally abusing them, using sarcasm and character assassination in order to elicit the desired behaviour/acquiescence/attitude. Parents, in a state of depression at their loss of authority over their own children, may react by refusing to speak to them or in other ways withdrawing tokens of their love and affection. Such responses as these are often far more emotionally and psychologically damaging than any show of reasonable force.

    O. A simple repeal will vastly complicate our law of assault, for assault is easily proved. Judges will have to wrestle with new distinctions, trying to avoid being forced to convict people they see as morally innocent. Many law-abiding citizens will consider this law change ridiculous and become contemptuous of the law. When this happens, the law loses credibility in the eyes of everyone. It causes more indecision for those who must enforce it, and more doubt about its value, and worse still, there will be more pressure on the courts to find cunning or discreditable arguments to avoid enforcing the clear words of the law.

    P. MP Sue Bradford and Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro routinely say that the Police will not prosecute for “light smacks”, even though they will clearly become acts of assault. These people are advocating that the Police fail to uphold and enforce the law of the land.

    Q. Some of the institutions supporting the Bill to repeal Section 59, Barnardos, Plunket, Children’s Commissioner and Families Commissioner, are seen as shortsighted and even as anti-family since they are, either knowingly or unknowingly, supporting these harmful unintended consequences.

    R. These institutions are also seen as attacking the child-rearing practices held by many families, across many religions and cultures and traditions, some of the deepest and most important cultural practices we have. These organisation will pay the price of increased suspicion against them.

    S. Repeal of Section 59 would see the NZ Civil Government stray way beyond its jurisdiction and interfere with the jurisdiction of the Family Government. It would criminalise parents who hold Biblical Christian convictions about the necessity of judicially administering appropriate corporal correction. When there is a conflict between civil law and God’s Law as revealed in the Bible, many Christians will feel they have no choice but to obey the Law of God rather than the law of men. Such a conflict, which will be brought about by this Bill, will precipitate widespread civil disobedience.

    T. The experience of Sweden since banning smacking there in 1979 has been one of terrible damage to families by state welfare interventions, with children being the main losers. Ruby Harrold-Claesson, LLM, Attorney at law in private practise in Gothenburg, Sweden, is President of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights. This organisation was founded in November 1996 by Nordic professionals from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Says Ms Harrold-Claesson: “We were a group of lawyers who had come to realise that our countries had the very same practices concerning the taking of children into care, excluding the birth families and destroying the children’s relations with their parents and relatives. This we deemed to be a serious violation of basic human rights and we decided to do something to rectify the situation.” (Reference: Ruby Harrold-Claesson’s lecture at the Families in Care, Conference for the Millennium, Newcastle, October 6, 2000). This situation referred to came about as a result of the increased activity of the various government child protection agencies after the banning of corporal correction.

    U. Here is an extract of Harrold-Claesson’s consultation paper of February 2000. This is offered as a foretaste of what New Zealand could experience with the combination of no legal justification for parents to use force with their children plus a zealous and powerful state agency known as the Children’s Commission keen to intervene plus many other organisations eager to intervene between parents and children in order to enforce the “no-force” parenting regime which would be required by the repeal of Section 59, organisations such as Plunket, Barnardos, UNICEF, EPOCH, Save the Children, etc.:

    (The entire paper is attached as Appendix B)

    WHEN PARENTS BECOME VICTIMS

    This paper was produced in anticipation of the Irish Government’s consultation paper on the discipline of children by their parents.

    THE SWEDISH LAW ON THE ABOLITION OF PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN – PARENT AND GUARDIANSHIP CODE OF 1979 Chapter 6, section 1

    Summary of main points

    • The Swedish law on the abolition of the physical punishment of children has resulted in hundreds of normal parents being harassed by the police and social authorities, prosecuted, sentenced and criminalised, because they have smacked their children for bad behaviour.

    • The claim made by EPOCH (End Physical Punishment of Children) that only one Swedish parent has been prosecuted for smacking a child since 1979 is far from the truth. In reality, there have been hundreds of cases, but they are difficult to trace because they appear alongside cases of assault and battery.

    • While having the appearance of being altruistic and humanitarian, the 1979 law has led to unwarranted interference in private and family life, and has caused serious damage to the relationship between parents and their children, to the detriment of the family.

    • Before the Bill abolishing the physical punishment of children was presented to the Swedish Parliament, several leading lawyers expressed strong misgivings. Their fears that the law would lead to prosecutions of parents who employed mild physical sanctions, while doing nothing to reduce the number of cases of genuine child abuse, have materialised.

    • Parents belonging to ethnic minorities and parents with strong religious convictions, in particular, have been victimised under the 1979 law.

    • The social authorities and the courts enforce the law concerning the child’s right not to be subjected to physical punishment, irrespective of what the child has done. Many Swedish parents are therefore afraid of their children and dare not correct them for fear of being reported to the police, indicted and fined or sent to prison.

    • The law against physical punishment does more damage to children than a smack from a mother or father. When the authorities intervene in the life of a well-functioning family, its life is destroyed. There is nothing that can mend the resulting hurt, pain and bitterness, and the children are the losers.

    • When children are removed from their supposedly ‘abusive’ parents and taken into care, they suffer the torture of forced separation from parents, brothers and sisters, and other relatives and friends. They are also exposed to the risk of real abuse. Such children are frequently subjected to physical, mental, and even sexual abuse, but social workers seldom listen to the complaints of children in care.

    • The 1979 law has caused incalculable damage to countless families where allegations have been made and investigations carried out, even where the charges have been dropped at an early stage.

    • The law has given rise to cases where children have accused their own parents of ill-treatment, without appreciating the consequences of their actions. The public prosecutor then takes over the case and may pursue it even where the parents deny any abuse and where children withdraw their accusations. In this way, the legislation has been directly responsible, not only for the destroying relationships between parents and children, but also for the break-up of many marriages and families.

    Swedish cultural patterns do not support the Family as an institution. In Sweden, family as an institution, which socialises children and passes on values, is not taken seriously. The status of the Family has been usurped and instead the school system and the social institutions have been given monopoly over the children.

    Unfortunately, information about the innumerable cases where parents in Sweden have been prosecuted and sentenced to prison and/or to pay heavy fines has had great difficulty reaching the outside world because of the language barrier. These cases invariably lead to the children being removed from their homes and placed in foster homes, and the families broken up beyond repair.

    The damage caused by this legislation is so serious that it should not be followed by any civilised country. Rather, Sweden needs the help of other nations to have this destructive legislation repealed.

    IV. Refutation of Arguments
    in Favour of this Bill

    UNCROC
    A. Many have said that NZ, as a signatory to UNCROC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child), is required by Article 19 to repeal Section 59 or to ban smacking in the home. UNCROC’s Article 19 requires no such thing. It says: “States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.” This is targeting “violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation” which is obviously not at all the same as reasonable force used by way of correction (section 59). This Bill appears to be an attempt to foist a fringe/minority/extremist definition of smacking as being violent and abusive onto everyone else in New Zealand even though the vast majority do not agree (see point II. K above).

    B. Those referring to UNCROC as justification for repealing S.59 or criminalizing/banning smacking appear hypocritical in that they ignore far more numerous and pointed references in UNCROC to the need to protect the unborn child, not from potential “violence, injury or abuse” but from certain and unjustifiable death. Dr Kiro herself, Children’s Commissioner, inexplicably limits her scope of interest to children from birth onwards, although her brief, to uphold the UNCROC document, specifically requires legal protection for the unborn.
    1. From UNCROC’s Preamble: Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, ‘‘the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth’’
    2. UNCROC Article 1: For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. [No starting point, such as “birth”, for human being given.]
    3. UNCROC Article 2(1): States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. [That is, a status of “unborn” is not to be discriminated against.]
    4. UNCROC Article 6(1): States Parties recognise that every child has the inherent right to life.
    5. UNCROC Article 6(2): States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.
    6. UNCROC Article 24(1 & 2)(a) & (d): States Parties recognise the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures: (a) To diminish infant and child mortality; (d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers.

    Conflation of Light Smacking
    with Abuse and Violence of All Kinds
    Frances Joychild of the NZ Law Commission, at a Forum at the Wellington Town Hall on Thursday 9 February 2006, a Forum put on by the Children’s Commission and the Families Commission, revealed that the UN Committee of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), that body which investigates how well each state who has signed the convention is bringing its laws into line with the convention, has taken the position that a smack, however light, is by definition an act of violence, and therefore falls under Article 19 of UNCROC and must be legally prohibited.

    This is the position adopted by most of the promoters of this Bill as can be seen by the way they consistently conflate the word “smacking” or “spanking” with “hitting”, “beating”, “abuse”, “violence” as if they meant the same things. This is clearly an extreme position, as is the position taken by the UN Committee of the UNCROC, for common sense knows that there is a world of difference between the “reasonable force used by way of correction” in Section 59 of the NZ Crimes Act and the “violence, injury or abuse” mentioned in Article 19 of UNCROC (see point A above). The rhetoric used by many of this Bill’s promoters indicates that they are not prepared to allow parenting methodologies that have been practised for innumerable generations to co-exist with their brand of parenting methodology. Why? Because these other methodologies include the use of reasonable force. Section 59 does allow a variety of parenting styles to peacefully co-exist, but the promoters of this Bill want Section 59 repealed so that only methodologies commensurate with their extreme view of “reasonable force” as equal with violence may be practised.

    To take just one example of “reasonable force” that will be outlawed if Section 59 is repealed: the two tables below show how traditional smacking is not even on the same continuum as violence, injury or abuse, nor do they have the same motivations, aims, objectives, methodologies or outcomes.

    Smacking vs. Child Abuse/Violence

    Spanking is spanking, smacking, discipline, or corporal chastisement. Abuse/Violence is belting, punching, hitting, beating, kicking or giving someone a hiding.
    Spanking is motivated by love and a commitment to the child’s best interests. Abuse/Violence is motivated by anger, frustration, revenge or some other volatile desire to get back at the child.
    Spanking has a methodology of controlled, measured, judicial smacks on the clothed buttocks. Abuse/Violence lashes out uncontrollably to strike anywhere, is often inflicted with excessive force and duration and may include the humiliation of undressing the victim.
    Spanking has the objective of correction and of seeing the child’s behaviour brought back into line. Abuse/Violence has the objective of punishment — inflicting pain, revenge or humiliation—for bugging the offender beyond his or her own ill-defined limits.
    Spanking seeks to restore the parent-child relationship ruptured by the child’s unacceptable behaviour. Abuse/Violence seeks to relieve the offender’s perceived level of ‘stress.’
    Spanking is applied to a child who consciously submits to the discipline for breaking specified rules of which the child was made aware beforehand. Abuse/Violence is perpetrated against a child arbitrarily, at the whim of the perpetrator, often without warning or explanation.
    Spanking is the Biblical remedy for expressions of serious spiritual rebellion such as Disobedience, Dishonesty, Disrespect and Destructiveness. Abuse/Violence is dished out for accidents, mistakes, misjudgments, carelessness, being silly or other expressions of normal physical immaturity or childishness.
    Spanking is commended by the Bible as a strategy for parents when training and correcting their children. Abuse/Violence is condemned by the Bible as an unacceptable way for anyone to treat children.
    Spanking is done in a wider context of active, authoritative parental involvement plus loving and consistent verbal affirmation, admonition and training. Abuse/Violence has a context of parental neglect, indulgence or arbitrary, dictatorial authoritarianism, often including impatient and unwarranted verbal abuse.
    Spanking has a further context of stable and committed family relationships, the most stable and caring of which is a legally married husband and wife plus their children. Abuse/Violence is associated with contexts of unstable and uncommitted family relationships such as de facto set-ups or an unmarried parent with serial ‘partners.’ 1
    Spanking is done with an eye to increasing the child’s underdeveloped maturity, understanding, self discipline and independence. Abuse/Violence is done to assert the offender’s position of control over the child.
    Spanking is totally centred on positively contributing to the child’s growth and maturity. Abuse/Violence is totally centred on restoring the offender’s, not the child’s, equilibrium.
    Spanking is discipline applied to the undisciplined child by a parent/guardian who is more disciplined than the child and who is seeking to be a role model. Abuse/Violence is an arbitrary, inconsistent attempt at discipline on the now confused and undisciplined child by one just as or more undisciplined than the child.
    Spanking consistently applied is needed less and less each year and rarely after the ages of 8 to 10. Abuse/Violence, because it stems from unresolved issues in the life of the perpetrator, can occur at any time.
    Spanking produces the peaceful and orderly life of self-discipline in those who have been trained by it. Abuse/Violence breeds continuing violence and a lack of self-discipline in those who have been abused by it.
    Note: 1. Data from the UK shows that compared with the intact married family, serious child abuse is: six times higher in the step-family; 14 times higher in families with single mothers (divorced and single mothers combined); 20 times higher in families with single fathers (predominantly divorced fathers); 20 times higher with de facto biological parents; and 22 times higher where the mother cohabits with a boyfriend. (Greg Fleming, Managing Director of the Maxim Institute, New Zealand Herald, 25 June 2002, ‘Parents need secure option before giving up smacking.’)

    Smacking vs. Abuse/Violence
    Not Even on the Same Continuum
    Motivation: The parents’ love and long-term commitment to training their child in social graces, discipline and self-control over and above their own personal pleasure or convenience. Motivation: Anger, frustration, vengeance or other unresolved issues in the abuser. The abuser is often personally undisciplined and may also be affected by drugs and/or alcohol.
    Aim: To effectively deal with a child’s rebellious actions and attitudes as soon as they manifest themselves in any of the four Ds: Disobedience, Dishonesty, Disrespect or Destructiveness. Aim: To vent one’s anger and frustration at the child’s normal expressions of immaturity (accidents, indiscretions, errors of judgment, irritating hyperactivity or being boisterous and silly), as well as the child’s rebellious actions and attitudes.
    Objectives: To correct a child’s rebellious behaviour or attitude from being self-centred; to train the child to do what is right; to discipline the child to show respect for property and legitimate authority. Objectives: These include vengeance, getting one’s own back, punishing, saving face and/or humiliating the child. The child abuser often has no objectives, but just reacts.
    Methodology: Smacking, spanking, discipline, corporal chastisement or corporal correction is the controlled, measured, purposeful and judicial use of reasonable force. It is done in the wider context of active, authoritative parental involvement plus loving and consistent verbal affirmation, admonition and training. Methodology: This is a wild card. It is typically explosive, angry, vindictive or uncontrolled belting, hitting, kicking, beating, etc., dished out arbitrarily with excessive duration and /or force, combined with verbal abuse, any time, any place.
    Outcomes: An ordered, disciplined and peaceful life based on family love; dealing head-on with issues of rebellion as soon as they arise; a restoration of relationships ruptured by rebellious actions and attitudes; a progressive reduction in both the manifestations of rebellion and the need for smacking. Outcomes: The perpetrator of violence and abuse may assert his control over the child’s immediate behaviour, but such irrational violence only breeds more violence and does harm to the parent/child relationship.

    Reasonable, caring, responsible parents have operated with these concepts clearly in mind for countless generations. The repeal lobby constantly, irresponsibly and maliciously caricatures responsible smacking listed on the left as the irresponsible, uncontrolled expressions of violence listed on the right. Why is it that the repeal lobby does not seem to understand these very large differences? Why is it that they do not appear able or willing to acknowledge the existence of this vast area of parental discipline using reasonable force which untold generations of parents have used very successfully? Why is it that the repeal lobby seem to be completely intolerant of this particular parenting strategy which has proven its effectiveness through the ages of producing self-disciplined, productive citizens?

    Hiding Abuse Behind S. 59
    It is constantly asserted that abusive parents hide behind the provisions of S. 59 and that it is even used by the courts to let clear cases of abuse get off free.

    A. Section 59 cannot be used to justify violence toward children. It cannot even be used to justify unreasonable force, but only “reasonable force used by way of correction”. That’s why it was placed in the Crimes Act in the first place: to nail the abusive and violent while protecting reasonable and responsible parents in their legitimate parenting activities.

    B. This Bill to repeal Section 59 assumes that judges and juries lack the necessary discernment to weigh up all the circumstances properly, and that they are unable to distinguish between “reasonable” force used “by way of correction” on the one hand and unreasonable, unacceptable violence against children on the other. This argument by the backers of the Bill is saying that judges and the members of the juries, their peers, cannot and should not be trusted to tell the difference.

    C. Backers of the Bill say police will use their common sense in deciding which cases to prosecute. That is precisely the situation now with Section 59 in place. However, those who would seek to cause trouble for non-dysfunctional families, those who would delight to send police on wild-goose chases, will have far more opportunities to do so if Section 59 is repealed and it becomes illegal to use “force” with one’s children, be it reasonable or unreasonable. Passage of this Bill will almost certainly increase abuse of families (see Appendix B).

    D. When cases of possible abuse come before the courts or are investigated by CYFs, how often is a defence of S. 59 even attempted? “Each year Child, Youth and Family investigates more than 25,000 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect.” (http://www.cyf.govt.nz/1816.htm on 19 August 2005). How many times a year, out of these 25,000, is Section 59 brought up? Lawyer John Hancock of Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa Inc., summarised such cases in a document titled “Parental Corporal Punishment of Children in New Zealand” for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and dated 28 August 2003. In this document he listed only 18 cases in which Section 59 featured spanning the 13 years from 1990 to 2002. That averages a mere 1.4 cases a year. Therefore, of the 1,415 reported cases of child abuse/assault Statistics NZ recorded for 2004, we can expect S. 59 to be used as a defence in a miniscule 0.1% of the cases! And lawyer Hancock’s report shows more than half of that tiny number were found guilty. S. 59 obviously provides no hiding place! Read Hancock’s full report at: http://www.acya.org.nz/site_resources/library/Documents/Reports_to_UN/S59_report_UNCROC_28Aug2003.rtf or http://tinyurl.com/zwy2b.

    Research Demonstrates Only Negative
    Behavioural Outcomes from Smacking
    A. Researchers fall into two camps.
    1. Those who can find no demonstrable causal connections between normal smacking and negative behaviours include: Dr Diana Baumrind of U of California at Berkeley; Dr Robert Larzelere of U of Nebraska; Drs Rex Ahdar & James Allan of U of Otago.
    2. Those who claim a demonstrable link include: Dr Murray Strauss, U of New Hampshire; Dr Joan Durrant, U of Manitoba; Dr Anne Smith of U of Otago.

    B. They all acknowledge the near impossibility of establishing a causal link between specific events in one part of a person’s life (i.e., physical discipline as a child) among all the other events in that person’s life and events in later life (i.e., negative social behaviours). Yet the pro-repeal lobby illogically insists the causal link is there. Others say the preponderance of evidence, the clear association between “harsh” physical discipline and negative social behaviours in later life, is enough to justify repeal. They appear to have a doctrinaire commitment to this article of faith whether there is any research evidence supporting it or not. There is a clear association between other factors and negative social behaviours in later life: factors such as race, poverty, schooling, education of parents, etc. To ban physical discipline on the basis of a statistical association with negative behaviours in later life means it might be just as effective to ban race, poorly educated parents, poverty, poor schooling, family structure, etc. Any or all of these could be the culprit. But in fact, none of them address spiritual issues of guilt, original sin, fallenness in Adam, the origin and nature of evil, etc. Not to address such things or to rule them out of consideration because it would not be politically correct to include them is not just one-eyed, head-in-the-sand cowardice: it is a demonstration of ultimate unconcern to come to grips with the issue, as leaving no stone unturned would be politically or personally too uncomfortable to do. Here is an area wherein MPs could show some definite leadership and moral courage.

    C. According to Derek Rogusky, director of research for Focus on the Family Canada, many studies lump abuse and disciplinary smacking together. However, the studies done that differentiate between abuse and smacking show children who are occasionally smacked, in a loving and caring environment with other forms of discipline also used, are very well adjusted.” (See http://www.christianity.ca/family/parenting/2003/08.001.html)

    D. Dr Larzelere said in his paper “Child Abuse in Sweden” (attached as Appendix C), “Durrant and I used the identical data source to arrive at nearly opposite conclusions.” Researchers themselves are often philosophically biased.

    E. Dr Larzelere has reviewed Dr Durrant’s work and found it wanting. He also has reviewed the situation in Sweden where smacking was banned over 20 years ago and come to quite different conclusions about the amount of child abuse, showing “a 489% increase in physical child abuse cases classified as criminal assaults in Sweden from 1981-1994,” from 2 to 12 after parental smacking for discipline was banned. This paper by Dr Larzelere, “Sweden’s smacking ban: more harm than good” is attached as Appendix D.

    F. A review by Dr Rex Ahdar and Dr James Allan of Otago University of the same research reviewed by their colleague Dr Anne Smith also of Otago University came to a startlingly different conclusion than did Dr Smith’s review. This work by Ahdar and Allan (lecturers in law) is particularly relevant to this Bill as they have endeavoured to relate their comments to the New Zealand context. Their paper is therefore attached as Appendix E.

    Extend Common Human Rights
    to Children the Same as to Fellow Adults
    A. This is a ridiculous argument as it pre-supposes a parent’s relationship to his own child is not essentially any different from his relationship to other adults outside the family.

    B. One doesn’t smack or use force on other adults for the same reason one doesn’t try to change their clothes or bathe or feed them. When a person has reached adulthood he is assumed to have matured to a place of independence and is self-governing.

    C. Children by definition have not reached maturity nor are they independent or self-governing. They are dependent upon their parents who are responsible to train and discipline the children toward this happy state of independence.

    D. There are cases where one would change and feed and bathe another adult: when that adult is in a degenerating condition (not maturing) due to illness and/or old age; plus the one caring for the adult has a special responsibility, relationship or authority to do so. This authority resides in nurses, rest home employees and parents. This Bill seeks to remove this authority from parents only. One wonders why.

    We Need to Send a Signal to Society
    that Violence Will Not Be Tolerated
    A. If this society or this Government were serious about signals, they could sack the Abortion Supervisory Committee and slam the Certifying Consultants into jail for illegally allowing abortions on demand, which was surely not the intention of the CSA Act, yet children are systematically killed at the rate of 50 per day, 18,500 last year.

    B. Charge school bullies with assault.

    C. Fire the top two film censors in this country for not doing their job properly, polluting this country with possibly the vilest and most degrading, gory and sexualised violence ever recorded.

    D. Tell the TV and video-games people to take their gratuitously violent and gory shows somewhere else. The truly harmful effects of TV and video violence are well known and thoroughly documented. In July, 2000, a joint statement was made to the US Congress by the AMA, the APA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. What they said was: “Well over 1,000 studies point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.” The following websites are a mere sampling of the research:
    1. www.lionlamb.org/research.html
    2. www.killology.com/stanfordstudy.html
    3. www.apa.org/releases/videoviolence05.html
    4. http://health.myway.com/art/id/527504.html
    5. http://jrc.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/42/1/3.pdf

    Nowhere Else Does the Law Allow
    One Group of People to Be Assaulted by Another
    A. Sections 72 & 73 of the Child Protection Act 2004 specifically give authority to use force to Social Workers when removing a child from a family. Social Workers have gained the use of force against children and parents, while this Bill proposes to take the use of force towards their children away from parents.

    B. Sections 39, 40 & 42 of the Childrens, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 give Police and social workers the authority to use “force” (this is not limited to “reasonable” force in these Sections) in dealing with parents and children, with or without a warrant, in various situations.

    C. A read through parts of the Crimes Act 1961 will turn up many instances where the law gives Joe Bloggs in the street legal justification for using reasonable force – force that would otherwise be considered assault – against another person in certain circumstances….exactly as Section 59 gives parents this justification in certain circumstances. See Sections 39, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58 and 60. Examples: Section 60 is reproduced earlier in this document. Section 42 says:
    42. Preventing breach of the peace—
    (1) Every one who witnesses a breach of the peace is justified in interfering to prevent its continuance or renewal, and may detain any person committing it, in order to give him into the custody of a constable, provided that the person interfering shall use no more force than is reasonably necessary for preventing the continuance or renewal of the breach of the peace, or than is reasonably proportionate to the danger to be apprehended from its continuance or renewal.

    V. The Committee’s Responsibility
    A. First it is to ascertain if the repeal of Section 59 is the best or even a reasonable way to address the problem of family violence in New Zealand. This submission contends that repeal will cause many very damaging unintended consequences. The most accurate predictor of child abuse appears to be “family” or household structure. Analysis of British data by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., shows that compared with the intact married family, serious child abuse is: six times higher in the step-family; 14 times higher in families with single mothers (divorced and single mothers combined); 20 times higher in families with single fathers (predominantly divorced fathers); 20 times higher with de facto biological parents; and 22 times higher where the mother cohabits with a boyfriend. (See http://www.heritage.org/Research/Features/Marriage/index.cfm. Also Greg Fleming, Managing Director of the Maxim Institute, New Zealand Herald, 25 June 2002, ‘Parents need secure option before giving up smacking.’)

    B. The Select Committee has available to it vast amounts of research on the negative effects of violent and pornographic TV, Videos, DVDs, Video Games, Movies, etc., far more than exists on corporal correction (see point D on previous page). Because of the magnitude of the negative unintended consequences likely to follow passage of this Bill, the Committee would be very wise in deferring any decision on this Bill until they had fully investigated whether these media influences do in fact constitute a clearly identifiable – and controllable – cause of violence in NZ society.

    C. The Select Committee should ascertain whether the horrendous abortion figures in New Zealand, the vast majority of which are committed for the flimsiest of reasons, do in fact promote a culture of death and violence toward children. Add to this the factors contributing to high rates of youth suicide and self-destructive drug and sexual activities, the avid talk of euthanasia and assisted suicide plus the call for use of aborted baby parts for research and experimental treatments, and one can effectively argue that New Zealand is infected with a fairly ghoulish element in the national psyche.

    D. The Select Committee needs to be clear about what standard it is obliged to use to make decisions. By what standard does the NZ Parliament make any law? It is probably the defining issue, the most basic of all: Who will rule over us? The law of God or the law of man? Did you realise that Members of Parliament are bound to uphold the Biblical Christian world-view of law (including child discipline)? This is true for the following reasons:

    1. Romans 13 in the Bible requires our civil government to punish evil doers and reward those who do good. Parents using force responsibly is good, but it will become a crime if this Bill is passed.

    2. MPs take office only upon making the following Oath of Allegiance: “I, ……….., swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

    3. Allegiance to the Queen involves the oaths she made at her Coronation: “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?”

    4.The prayer opening every session of the NZ Parliament says, “Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Your guidance in all things and laying aside all personal and private interest, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy Holy name, the maintainence of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen and the public welfare, peace and tranquility of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
    5. The Select Committee will be deciding to follow our Christian heritage, as reflected in 800 years of common law precedent, or to go the secular route suggested by Sue Bradford in the Bill’s Explanatory Note (see point II. H). Your duty is clear. Decide rightly.

    VI. Recommendations
    A. Please request the Ministry of Social Development to direct the Police and CYFs to start keeping statistics on the household structure in cases of child abuse, that NZ might confirm that household structure is a greater predictor of child abuse than the existence of Section 59 (see V.A above).
    B. Please recommend that a Royal Commission be set up to investigate the extent and depth to which a person’s exposure to
    a. gratuitous and gory violence and sexualised violence on TV, Videos, Movies, DVDs and Video Games; or
    b. the abortion on demand situation that exists in New Zealand and the effects of abortion on the mother, the unborn child, the surviving children and the extended family; or
    c. alcohol and drug abuse; or
    d. the secular, non-Christian, politically correct world view promoted in state schools and state agencies; or
    e. bullying in schools; or
    f. certain family/household structures
    is a predictor of violence toward children in New Zealand.
    C. Vote the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill down as unworkable and as ushering in too many very damaging unintended consequences. Do not allow this Bill to proceed.
    D. Leave Section 59 intact just as it stands, for it is a brilliant piece of legislation. It protects responsible parents in their legitimate use of force to correct and train their children, and it allows proper authorities to pursue cases wherein the use of force is not reasonable in the circumstances nor used for the purpose of correction.

    Signed on Behalf of Family Integrity:

    Craig S. Smith
    National Director


    Submission By Craig Smith To Justice and Electoral Committee re. Crimes Amendment Bill

    To:
    Justice and Electoral Select Committee

    Submission:
    Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill

    This Bill cannot be allowed to proceed any further. It will prove to be a political nightmare and social disaster for New Zealand.

    I. The Criminalisation of Many Christians in the Practise of their Religious Convictions

    There are two areas in which the freedom of Christians to follow their religious convictions will be gravely contravened, convictions practised by Christians for thousands of years and also practised by the majority in Christian countries, including New Zealand to this very day, by way of emulation of Christians if not by way of conviction. The first is the conviction that children need to be corrected and trained by rigorous discipline, a discipline to keep standards to which children do not naturally aspire. The second is to use the “rod of correction”, a short sharp painful smack with a rod-like instrument in order to drive foolish rebellion out of their hearts, their personalities and attitudes.

    Force

    Many Bible-believing Christians see very straight-forward commands about using force by way of correction in the Scriptures. Correcting, training, disciplining a child into the way that he should go, into the paths of self-discipline, independence, self-government, self-control, all being under the authority of first the parents and then under the authority of the state civil government (and at all times being under the ultimate and supreme authority of God, to Whom both parents and the state civil government as well as all things else are subject and accountable) is the primary task of parenting. The repeal of Section 59 will mean parents have no legal authorisation to correct or train or discipline their children if any kind of force is used, be it reasonable or unreasonable. This, of course, puts parents into an impossible situation, for who can correct or train or discipline without some recourse to force?

    So, with the use of reasonable force swept from the law books, many Bible-believing Christians will be unable to correct, train and discipline their children, a duty their Christian faith enjoins upon them, for the task appears impossible without using force. A few examples of Biblical references to this are:

    Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of His reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”

    Proverbs 6:23: “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”

    Isaiah 1:19-20: “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

    Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

    II Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

    Hebrews 12:7-9: “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Beside this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.”

    Many Christians hold to standards of behaviour, morality, dress, speech, attitudes, entertainment, etc., which are becoming more and more at odds with the secular society that makes up the bulk of New Zealand. We see these as higher standards: honesty is not the best policy, it is the only policy. Modesty in dress is a higher standard than dressing to seduce. Speech with little slang and no profanity is a higher standard than speech filled with both. The training and discipline and correction needed to reach and maintain such standards are more now than in days past, since the surrounding society no longer supports our standards as it once did. Consequently the force required is greater also.

    So when the repeal lobby states that they feel it is time to progress to a smack-free society, we Christians see that as a sign of regression, for they do not promote nor aim for the same high standards we do. In fact, some of the “standards” of New Zealand society are perversions most Christians agree should be avoided at all costs (no-fault divorce; partnerships of many kinds with many people rather than life-long monogamous marriage; acceptance of homosexuality, lesbianism and other newly coined sexualities; abortion as a woman’s choice; all religions and religious ideas are equally valid; a growing acceptance of public nudity; a growing acceptance of gratuitous and gory violence in all media forms; a growing acceptance of public use of profanity; etc.)

    The rod of correction

    The wording of Section 59 itself appears to somewhat parallel Proverbs 22:15.

    Section 59: “Every parent of a child…is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.

    Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

    Now this passage from the Bible talks about a specific type of force, one that along with all other types of force will become illegal if Section 59 is repealed. It is the force connected with smacking or spanking. A rod is used, or some such symbol of authority, to administer corporal correction instead of the hand, for the hand is the primary instrument of personal touch and help and support and affection. This rod is mentioned a number of times, for example, some references are:

    Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

    Proverbs 23:13-14: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike hm with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”

    Proverbs 26:3: “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.”

    Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

    Two passages especially from those above give critical insight into the vital question of “why” Bible-believing Christians are committed to the use of corporal correction and “when”.

    Proverbs 22:15 says foolishness (understood to be sinfulness or rebellion) is in a child’s heart. This is a result of what theologians call “original sin”, a defect or propensity to rebel against authority that has been passed down through the generations as faithfully as apples always grow from apple trees and grapes from grape vines. It originated in our first parents, Adam and Eve when they first disobeyed God. That one act of disobedience corrupted Adam and Eve and consequently corrupted all of mankind since all other humans are descended from Adam and Eve.

    This foolishness, rebellion, is distinct from childishness and immaturity. It is often summarised by the Four Ds of Discipline: Disobedience, Disrespect, Destructiveness and Dishonesty, all of which are expressions of rebellion. Wee children may tell lies and purposely break things as they experiment with words, ideas, objects. But once they have had these concepts explained to them and it is clear to the parents that they understand the issue, the act is no longer one of childishness or immaturity, but one of wilful rebellion (doing what they know is wrong). If a child destroys some crockery by dropping it on the floor while drying the dishes, that is an accident, a product of immaturity and lack of experience in handling dishes. However, if the child had been instructed about it being wrong to wantonly destroy property had then tossed the crockery into the air to see what would happen when it hit the kitchen floor, that is destructiveness, an act of rebellion.

    Note that the Proverbs 22:15 passage says that the rod, the smacking with the rod, will drive the foolishness out of him. There is some connection between the smack on the backside and driving some measure of foolishness, which has just manifested itself in breaking one of the Four Ds, out of the child’s heart. I cannot pretend to understand this, for it is a spiritual malady. But the Bible teaches it, and so Bible believing Christians accept the truth and veracity and necessity of it, for it is the Word of God. That means its authority is infinitely higher than any human authority, whoever it might be. (This is a traditional, orthodox, mainstream, historical Protestant understanding of how one approaches Scripture, what these passages on smacking mean, and the doctrine of original sin. None of these things so far discussed are fringe or extremist or cultish, although since the Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist denominations’ leadership have been given to extreme liberalism in the last several years, many in those groups will say it is fringe, though they should readily admit these to be their long-held positions in the past.)

    Note that the Proverbs 23:13-14 passage says corporal discipline with a rod will deliver a child’s soul from Sheol, a word for hell. Again, this is a spiritual truth, a Biblical promise, we Christian parents want to fully claim and embrace.

    Because the rod is for acts of rebellion, it is not an everyday tool of parenting, but one used only as needed to meet those serious occasions. And if used consistently – and this seems to be not only the key, but the most difficult aspect of parenting, being consistent – it is needed less and less frequently from about age 3 or 4 to age 8 or 10, and only rarely if ever after that. Smacking is done in private, with the full co-operation, understanding and acquiescence of the child, with judicially administered, agreed number, measured and purposeful swots to the clothed backside.

    The idea is to get the foolishness, the sinful rebelliousness out of the child’s heart and mind and personality and attitudes before it becomes a permanent fixture. If foolishness is allowed to dwell and settle in a child’s personality, the child grows up to be a fool. This is a state of affairs Christian parents work hard to prevent.

    Other methods of discipline or training, which do have their usefulness, do not deal with the problem of heart rebellion: time out, grounding, levying a fine, extra chores, etc., do not drive the foolishness from the heart, and so do not deal with the real root of the problem. They are only surface level, short-term behaviour modification strategies.

    In summary, Christians who believe they have a non-negotiable directive from their Lord to train their children via rigorous discipline, and that they must use the rod of correction for acts of serious rebellion, do so not as a behaviour modification technique. Pragmatism has little place in the area of child training and discipline. The objective is to train the inner man, form and modify the inner character traits so that they reflect the characteristics of Christ Jesus Himself. Smacks are delivered to cleanse the heart, the personality, of foolish rebellion when it manifests itself, in the hope of contributing to the deliverance of the child’s soul from hell. Smacking is a high and holy institution, one with a very long history, one with an impeccable pedigree, one so deeply ingrained in some by cultural habits and one that is also a deeply seated Christian religious conviction. The objectives and effects of smacking stretch beyond the grave into eternity. We regard the practise and the responsibility of Biblically using the rod of correction with our children very seriously.

    Conclusion to this part
    Therefore, to repeal Section 59 will be, intended or not, a direct contravention of the child-rearing convictions of many Bible believing Christians, putting many such parents in the position of having to decide: “Do we obey Christ or Caesar (the state)? Do we obey the laws of God or the laws of men, for one contradicts the other?” We don’t want to be in this position. The Bible calls us to obey and uphold the laws of the state as much as we can. But when there is a conflict, in this case the state (if Section 59 were to be repealed) prohibiting us from doing that which God commands, we will obey God rather than the state, forcing us to become lawbreakers. And the state has an obligation to its citizens not to put them into such quandaries. Section 59 as it is, allows for the responsible use of the rod of correction, as it has done for many decades already. There is no pressing need, or really any need at all, to repeal it and many good reasons to retain it.

    II. Practical Considerations
    There are many, many issues that could be mentioned, but I’ll only mention three.

    Unjustified encroachment upon jurisdiction of the family by the state
    Section 59 very simply and clearly acknowledges and delineates the separate jurisdictions of the family and the state in relation to the rearing of children. Families are recognised as having a jurisdiction to train and correct children who break the rules, using force as required, just as the state has a jurisdiction to train and correct adults who break the laws, using force of imprisonment, fines, etc., as needed. To repeal Section 59 takes parental authority away, and then it is only the state and its agents the police and social workers (the status of school teachers is unclear) who have recourse to force to correct, train or anything else. The state has no business doing this.

    Universal Criminalisation
    On Thursday 9 February 2006, I was at a conference on child discipline at the Wellington Town Hall. Frances Joychild of the NZ Law Commission told us that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the group that goes around the world checking up on how countries have progressed in changing their laws to come into line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), had defined a smack, no matter how light, as violence and abuse. While this is clearly an extremist position, it is the position Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro takes.

    Now what was really interesting about this conference was Dr Kiro’s opening and then closing remarks. She said on opening that it was highly unlikely that parents would be criminalised by repeal of Section 59. By the end of the day she’d changed her tune. She said that the criminalisation of parents as a result of this Bill going through was an issue “that we cannot gloss over; it has to be addressed.” The lawyers there from the NZ Law Commission and the NZ Law Society had made it abundantly clear that criminalisation of ALL parents who would correct their children using any kind of force at all was the natural and logical result of repeal of Section 59.

    Amendments to define “reasonable force”
    Any such move will prove to be an impossible task. Reasonable force depends upon a context, precisely as Section 59 says. The criticisms that the very few court judgements in relation to Section 59 are inconsistent, are no criticisms at all: they are simple observations that one context is not the same as another. To rhetorically ask, “What would you consider reasonable force?” without a context, as is constantly done by the repeal lobby and talk-show hosts is illogical. One would expect that reasonable force with a four year old girl to get her to dress properly will be quite different from the reasonable force needed to search a 13 year old boy’s backpack, who is refusing to co-operate, when the parent suspects it contains stolen goods or pornography.

    If an amendment tries to say something such as no use of any implement is allowed, one immediately wonders whether a hand is an implement. How about a hand inside a glove? If an amendment tries to say no reasonable force is to be used in the area of head and neck, then there is the problem of separating out purposeful and judicial smacking as has been described earlier, from other kinds of corrective force as in getting the four year old to change of the 13 year old to render up his backpack. And if both implements and force about the head are illegal, what if a neighbour hears screaming and peeking through the next-door window sees a man pummelling a youngster with a large, cloth-covered, lumpy-looking object about the head. When the police arrive and find it to be a thrilling and much enjoyed by all pillow fight, the man is a criminal and has no defence.

    And any implement ban would strike directly as the Christian’s rod of correction, a seriously-held article of faith in many Christian parents’ child rearing tool kit.

    Recommendations
    Understand that a vote for this Bill is a direct blow against Christians and against the practise of long-held Christian convictions of child-rearing. Therefore drop this Bill and leave Section 59 just as it is.

    The State has no business in regulating how parents correct their own children using reasonable force. Therefore drop this Bill and leave Section 59 just as it is.

    Repeal would criminalise virtually all parents, as even the Children’s Commissioner has had to acknowledge. Therefore, drop this Bill and leave Section 59 just as it is.

    Amendments to define reasonable force cannot be done without defining every possible context, a ludicrous task. Therefore, drop this Bill and leave Section 59 just as it is.

    Regards,

    Craig S. Smith


    Submission By Barbara Smith To Justice and Electoral Committee re. Crimes Amendment Bill

    SUBMISSION
    To the Justice and Electoral Select Committee
    On the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill

    From:
    Barbara Smith

    4 Tawa Street
    Palmerston North

    27 February 2006

    59.Domestic discipline—
    (1)Every parent of a child and, subject to subsection (3) of this section, every person in the place of the parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.
    (2)The reasonableness of the force used is a question of fact.
    (3)Nothing in subsection (1) of this section justifies the use of force towards a child in contravention of section 139A of the Education Act 1989.

    I am strongly opposed to the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill for the following crucial reasons:

    1. I am a full time Mum wanting to train my children to be good citizens, not to have them “grow up in spite of me”.
    2. The Anti-smacking lobby has no public support.
    3. What are the Families and Children’s Commissioners doing about the abuse of 18,500 babies a year?
    4. The anti-smacking lobby argues that abuse and violence hide behind the provisions of Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961. The facts do not appear to support this contention.
    5. Foster Care and Sweden
    6. Research
    7. Repealing Section 59 will have adverse effects on my Grandchildren and Future Generations.

    Appendix A Page 13
    Appendix B Page 24
    Appendix C Page 32
    Appendix D Page 44
    Appendix E Page 56
    Appendix F Page 77

    I would like the opportunity to speak to the Select Committee about this submission.

    1. I am a Full Time Mum wanting to train my children to be good citizens, not to have them “grow up in spite of me”
    I am a full time Mum of 8 children: the oldest is 25 years old and the youngest is 6 months. Two of my children have now left home: one is married and the other is in the New Zealand Air Force. I have been at home with my children and have home schooled all the children all the way through their education. I love my children dearly. I want the best for each child. I want to give them the best education that I can. I want to give them the best opportunities that I can. I want to train them to be the best possible citizens of New Zealand that I can. I am proud of my older children who are 25, 24, 21 18 and 13. I used reasonable force by way of correction as I was training them. They have turned out to be wonderful citizens of New Zealand, and they have all been well educated. As I talk to them now, they all agree that the training that they got was for their benefit. They know that when I used reasonable force with them by way of correction to train them that it was always done in love. I can honestly say that when I have used reasonable force by way of correction that it was never done in anger and was never abusive. I used reasonable force by way of correction for heart matters not for clumsiness or accidents or for my convenience. I used reasonable force for the heart attitudes of dishonesty, disrespect, destructiveness and disobedience. The children all knew this and knew the standard to be working towards. As the children were being trained, we needed to consistently use force by way of correction to train them a lot. Then as they internalised the training, we had to use force by way of correction less and less. In other words, the younger the child and the more consistently we used reasonable force to train the child, the sooner the child became self-disciplined and there was then less need to use reasonable force by way of correction, as there was less to correct. If we are thoroughly consistent while the child is young, then there should be no need to use reasonable force by way of correction on most children after about the ages of 5-8.

    I know what I am talking about here, as I am a full time Mum. I need to have my home so that it will run with the minimum of stress and where each member of the family is a contributing member and works well with the others and loves each other. Those making the moves to repeal Section 59 have no idea what it is like to be at home for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for 17 to 20 years of the child’s life. I do. I am at home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for 19 to 25 years of my children’s lives because I home school them. I have never dumped them at a day care or a kindergarten or any other institution. We have only rarely employed a babysitter. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way because we have come to know and understand our children the way neither any teacher nor any parents who send their children away from home for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week can know their children. The training is not onerous because we are on top of the 4 Ds: dishonesty, disrespect, destruction and disobedience as soon as they are committed—while the offence is yet very small we deal with it as a way of training the children. We do not use reasonable force as a last resort. We use it as a first resort. (Remember that I am not using reasonable force for childish acts, clumsiness, because I have been inconvenienced or accidents, but I am using reasonable force by way of correction as a first resort for the heart attitudes of dishonesty, disrespect, destruction and disobedience.) This way we are never angry because we are using it to train the child. We know that the children are going to try us and test us to see if we are serious about training them, so we expect this sort of behaviour from our children so are not angry when we see it. I have been a full time Mum now for nearly 26 years. I am very happy with the training that my children have received and for what the younger ones are continuing to get.

    Instead of repealing Section 59 there is a real need to be training new parents in how to train their children.

    2. The Anti-smacking lobby has no public support

    I have taken the next bit from the Family Integrity newsletter:
    “Two representatives from Family Integrity attended the “Effective Discipline” Forum in Wellington February 9th put on by the Families and Children’s Commissioners. They found that the two Commissioners knew very well they did not have public support for the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. Two large polls (shown below) demonstrate how true this is. A TV1 website poll which has been active since 28 July 2005 today shows 93% in favour of parents being allowed to use reasonable force to discipline their children. A Stuff.co.nz web poll conducted 16 February 2006 shows 83.8% answering “No” to the question, “Should smacking children be outlawed in NZ?”
    “For a more robust, scientifically conducted survey, the best is probably the one commissioned by the Ministry of Justice in 2001 and carried out by the National Research Bureau. (See: http://www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/reports/2001/children/ex-summary.html). It states as its objective, “The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Justice to ascertain public attitudes towards the physical discipline of children. This information is to inform ongoing policy work on section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961.”

    “The survey further states: “The results showed that 80% of the public agreed that a person parenting a child should be allowed by law to smack the child with an open hand if they are naughty.”

    “These polls show that smacking or using reasonable force to discipline one’s child is overwhelmingly supported by the New Zealand public,” says Family Integrity National Director Craig Smith. “And this is simply people reacting to what seems to most of us as common sense. When you explain to people that repealing Section 59 will criminalise not only every parent who smacks a child, regardless of how lightly, but also every parent who tries to correct or train or discipline a child using force of any kind, including “time out”, people get really angry at the deceit behind this proposed legislation.”

    “Yet neither the Families Commissioner Dr Rajen Prasad nor the Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro expressed any desire at the Forum (or anywhere else) to pay attention to our democratic tradition of majority rule. Instead they call upon the Government “to show leadership” in this area. That means, “Ignore what the voters say and do as we United Nations-inspired, un-elected, politically-appointed advocates say is best.”

    “These people and all those who are pushing for repeal of Section 59 are happy to overturn in a moment of time parenting methodologies that have been successfully used and proven over thousands of years across many cultures. The only glimmer of hope at the Forum was the grudging acknowledgement by the two Commissioners that repeal would in fact criminalise parents from one end of New Zealand to the other.

    “Most of us can see pretty easily how foolish it would be for a government, without any serious public debate or solid research into the social consequences of such a move, to criminalise practices that are as deeply held to and believed in as any other you will find. Such cultural, religious, philosophical and familial insensitivity would spell disaster for any sense of social cohesion and trust and security the government may be trying to foster.“From: http://www.tvnz.co.nz/view/page/
    17 Feb 06
    Poll apparently still active
    Originally posted 28 July 2005, OneNews, “Anti-smacking bill passes first hurdle”
    Should parents be allowed to use reasonable force to discipline their children?
    93% yes
    7% no
    ————————————————————————————————————
    Stuff POLL RESULTS

    » Should smacking children be outlawed in NZ?
    See story
    Yes (801 votes, 12.6%)

    No (5330 votes, 83.8%)

    Not sure (229 votes, 3.6%)

    Stuff polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.
    ————————————————————————————————————
    I am really angry that the Families and Children’s Commissioners are pushing for the repealing of Section 59 when they know that they do not have public support for it.

    3. What are the Families and Children’s Commissioners doing about the abuse of 18,500 babies a year?

    Sue Bradford and Dr Cindy Kiro are concerned about the abuse of children, which we all are.

    There are laws on the books against abuse. These must be more strictly enforced. But who is doing anything about the abuse of the 18,500 babies that are murdered each year?

    “Those referring to UNCROC as justification for repealing S.59 or criminalizing/banning smacking appear hypocritical in that they ignore far more numerous and pointed references in UNCROC to the need to protect the unborn child, not from potential “violence, injury or abuse” but from certain and unjustifiable death.
    a. From UNCROC’s Preamble: Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, ‘‘the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth’’
    b. UNCROC Article 1: For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
    c. UNCROC Article 2(1): States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
    d. UNCROC Article 6(1): States Parties recognise that every child has the inherent right to life.
    e. UNCROC Article 6(2): States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.
    f. UNCROC Article 24(1 & 2)(a) & (d): States Parties recognise the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures: (a) To diminish infant and child mortality; (d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers.”

    So when Sue Bradford and Cindy Kiro say that they want to repeal Section 59 because it will reduce the amount of abuse done to children, I for one do not believe them. They have another agenda, or they would also be concerned about these 18,500 babies that are murdered every year. So Select Committee as you look at this issue of repealing Section 59 please look very closely at the motives of those calling for the repeal. They say it is to reduce the amount of abuse in the community. But will it infact do that? Will it really reduce the abuse of children when there are already laws about this? Will it have any effect on the abuse (murder) done to these babies?

    4. The anti-smacking lobby argues that abuse and violence hide behind the provisions of Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961. The facts do not appear to support this contention.

    On the 31st of May 2005 the Green Party issued a press release entitled “Section 59 protects abusers not children.” In it, it cited a case where a woman smacked a child with a cane, and on another occasion, a riding crop. (See this case in Appendix A)

    Sue Bradford also mentioned this case when bringing her bill to Parliament. She used this case to say that Section 59 was not working because too many people were getting off because of it. Please see Appendix B to see cases that have used Section 59 over the last few years. (Please note that Section 59 is rarely used as a defence at all.)

    The cases where Section 59 is raised are those borderline cases where a parent believes they were being reasonable in their use of force by way of correction and a court has had to decide whether the parent was using reasonable force or if it was infact abuse.. From the research done by Lawyer John Hancock there have only been 18 cases over a 13-year period from 1990 to 2002 in which section 59 has been raised as a defence. When you consider the number of abuse cases we read about in the papers this seems to me a very small number. Eighteen parents in 13 years wanted to argue before a judge, and in some cases a jury that they had used reasonable force by way of correction to train their child when on the face of it the police thought they had been abusive.

    From Hancock’s research 10 of these parents failed in their defence. In other words the court found the force they had used was abusive. That leaves only 8 parents in the past 13 years who have been found to have used reasonable force by way of correction to train their children. This seems to me a very small number. Parents charged with assaulting their child have been found guilty. On this basis I believe section 59 has done its job and should remain on the statute books.

    Select Committee: I would much rather have the law we have now. I would much rather face a jury of 12 and have my and my family’s future decided by 12 people than by one Police man or Social Worker who may or may not like me and who may or may not have a certain social agenda.

    The scary thing is that many CYFS Social Workers already believe that it is against the law to smack. Please read Appendix A and read about the Timaru court case where a Jury found a mother innocent when she pleaded under Section 59. CYFS is still treating her as if she was guilty. CYFS took her son away before the court case and even though it was proved that she was not guilty they have still not returned her son. AND WHAT CAN SHE DO NOW?

    If this is happening now what will it be like when Section 59 has been repealed. It doesn’t bear thinking about. I have nightmares about it.

    So please Please read Appendix A This was an email sent to me to use wherever I thought it could be useful.

    Then just this morning I received this email from the mother in this case:

    Hi Barbara, please feel free to use this (Appendix A) if you like.. it may be good to add the following:

    The state solution to produce good behaviour is to medicate my son, with RISPERDAL. (Check out the side effects of this. You will be shocked. This drug has been banned for use on children in the states because of its side effects) but the state insists that he take this every day to modify his behaviour.

    Funny when a smack on the bottom which has no long term side effects sufficed to bring about a change in behaviour for the better.

    State ideals-
    remove child from secure and happy family environment and medicate the child till he is a zombie..

    Parental ideals-
    give a smack on the clothed bottom if necessary and have a happy … balanced child!!

    Which scenario truly represents abuse??? HMMM.

    My son is now permanently emotionally scarred not from the discipline but from the trauma of being removed from his family who love him and he loves.

    THE STATE is abusing my son and I can do nothing to stop this. How may other parents will face the same if s59 is repealed?? The state is undermining parental authority.

    Today’s 27 February Manawatu Evening Standard has as article titled “Foster kids at high mental health risk”. See Appendix F for a copy of the article.”

    In this article Christchurch Family and Foster Care Association chairwoman Pamela Turner said “I think it’s the separation from their parents, basically, the separation from their own mum and dad, no matter how good the foster carers are…..”. The “it’s” refers to problems most foster children have which are “characterised by attachment difficulties, relationship insecurity, sexual behaviours, trauma-related anxiety, conduct problems and defiance, and inattention or hyperactivity, as well as uncommon problems such as self-injury and food maintenance behaviours” as mentioned in the article.

    Here Pamela Turner is saying that the worst abuse we can do to children is to take them away from their parents. This is what is happening here in this case where the riding crop lady has been found innocent and yet her son is still in CYFS care and drugged as well.

    If you have not done so already then please read Appendix A. Thank you.

    5. Foster Care and Sweden

    The scary thing about repealing Section 59 is what will happen to our children if we are suspected of using force by way of correction to train our children. For who can train their children without using reasonable force, if they want to train up responsible children and citizens. Sue Bradford says that a small smack will be OK. But the Police say it will be an offence. It will only take an anonymous report, whether it is true or not, to turn a good family in chaos.

    The example of Sweden, who banned smacking in 1979, should be a sobering example of what could and probably will happen to families in New Zealand. Ruby Harrold-Claesson LLM, Attorney at law in private practise in Gothenburg, Sweden, is President of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights. This organisation was founded in November 1996 by Nordic professionals from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) she says “We were a group of lawyers who had come to realise that our countries had the very same practices concerning the taking of children into care, excluding the birth families and destroying the children’s relations with their parents and relatives. This we deemed to be a serious violation of basic human rights and we decided to do something to rectify the situation.” (Reference: Ruby Harrold-Claesson’s lecture at the Families in Care, Conference for the Millennium, Newcastle, October 6, 2000). This situation referred to came about as a result of the increased activity of the various government child protection agencies after the banning of corporal correction.

    Here is an extract of Harrold-Claesson’s consultation paper of February 2000. This is what could and probably will happen in New Zealand when there is no legal justification for parents to use reasonable force by way of correction with their children. State agencies seem keen to intervene between parents and children in order to enforce the “no-force” parenting regime which would be required by the repeal of Section 59.

    (Quote)
    WHEN PARENTS BECOME VICTIMS

    This paper was produced in anticipation of the Irish Government’s consultation paper on the discipline of children by their parents.

    THE SWEDISH LAW ON THE ABOLITION OF PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN – PARENT AND GUARDIANSHIP CODE OF 1979 Chapter 6, section 1

    Summary of main points

    • The Swedish law on the abolition of the physical punishment of children has resulted in hundreds of normal parents being harassed by the police and social authorities, prosecuted, sentenced and criminalised, because they have smacked their children for bad behaviour.

    • The claim made by EPOCH (End Physical Punishment of Children) that only one Swedish parent has been prosecuted for smacking a child since 1979 is far from the truth. In reality, there have been hundreds of cases, but they are difficult to trace because they appear alongside cases of assault and battery.

    • While having the appearance of being altruistic and humanitarian, the 1979 law has led to unwarranted interference in private and family life, and has caused serious damage to the relationship between parents and their children, to the detriment of the family.

    • Before the Bill abolishing the physical punishment of children was presented to the Swedish Parliament, several leading lawyers expressed strong misgivings. Their fears that the law would lead to prosecutions of parents who employed mild physical sanctions, while doing nothing to reduce the number of cases of genuine child abuse, have materialised.

    • Parents belonging to ethnic minorities and parents with strong religious convictions, in particular, have been victimised under the 1979 law.

    • The social authorities and the courts enforce the law concerning the child’s right not to be subjected to physical punishment, irrespective of what the child has done. Many Swedish parents are therefore afraid of their children and dare not correct them for fear of being reported to the police, indicted and fined or sent to prison.

    • The law against physical punishment does more damage to children than a smack from a mother or father. When the authorities intervene in the life of a well-functioning family, its life is destroyed. There is nothing that can mend the resulting hurt, pain and bitterness, and the children are the losers.

    • When children are removed from their supposedly ‘abusive’ parents and taken into care, they suffer the torture of forced separation from parents, brothers and sisters, and other relatives and friends. They are also exposed to the risk of real abuse. Such children are frequently subjected to physical, mental, and even sexual abuse, but social workers seldom listen to the complaints of children in care.

    • The 1979 law has caused incalculable damage to countless families where allegations have been made and investigations carried out, even where the charges have been dropped at an early stage.

    • The law has given rise to cases where children have accused their own parents of ill-treatment, without appreciating the consequences of their actions. The public prosecutor then takes over the case and may pursue it even where the parents deny any abuse and where children withdraw their accusations. In this way, the legislation has been directly responsible, not only for the destroying relationships between parents and children, but also for the break-up of many marriages and families.

    Swedish cultural patterns do not support the Family as an institution. In Sweden, family as an institution, which socialises children and passes on values, is not taken seriously. The status of the Family has been usurped and instead the school system and the social institutions have been given monopoly over the children.

    Unfortunately, information about the innumerable cases where parents in Sweden have been prosecuted and sentenced to prison and/or to pay heavy fines has had great difficulty reaching the outside world because of the language barrier. These cases invariably lead to the children being removed from their homes and placed in foster homes, and the families broken up beyond repair.

    The damage caused by this legislation is so serious that it should not be followed by any civilised country. Rather, Sweden needs the help of other nations to have this destructive legislation repealed.

    (End of quote)

    Recent New Zealand Research:

    Today’s 27 February Manawatu Evening Standard has as article titled “Foster kids at high mental health risk”. See Appendix F for a copy of the article. It is about a study carried out by Canterbury University’s Dr Michael Tarren-Sweeney with Professor Philip Hazell for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, (RACP), and they found that the nearly 350 children from the study had “exceptionally poor mental health and socialisation.” Not only that they go on to say “These disturbances were complex and characterised by attachment difficulties, relationship insecurity, sexual behaviours, trauma-related anxiety, conduct problems and defiance, and inattention or hyperactivity, as well as uncommon problems such as self-injury and food maintenance behaviours.”

    This is how the State looks after a lot of foster children. We do not want to see our children being taken away from us and put into foster homes – to see our well adjusted children who have been trained by using reasonable force by way of correction get all the problems mentioned above.

    We must not let this Section 59 be repealed. If it is, many children from very good homes may end up in these foster homes when there was no need for the family to be torn apart because of good parenting practices of using reasonable force by way of correction.

    6. Research

    Please look closely at the research done by Robert E. Larzelere. Joan Durrant has done much damage to families with her biased and manipulated research. Please do us the honour of looking at research done by Robert E. Larzelere (Appendix C & D).
    Robert E. Larzelere says “At every point, the evidence contradicts Dr. Durrant’s conclusions” This Select Committee must study Robert E. Larzelere’s research if they are to give a balanced, true, objective, unbiased and accurate report back to the MPs in Parliament.

    Rex Ahdar and James Allan (Appendix E ) This research is an edited version of an article from The New Zealand Law Review (2001).

    John Hancock (Appendix B) The facts that John Hancock has studied show that abusive and violent parents do not hide behind Section 59. Approximately only 1.4 cases come before the courts in a year using the defence of Section 59. In most of these cases the parent is found guilty. Section 59 is working very well for the New Zealand Society.

    Please study these research papers and make a recommendation that Section 59 be kept.

    Sue Bradford told the nation on TV3 News, 14th February 2006, “What I want to do is get rid of a law that says it’s okay to beat your children.” Ms Bradford then makes it clear that she thinks that it is currently legal to beat one’s child. It is not. There are laws dealing with this and people are prosecuted every day for this. Repealing Section 59 will do nothing to stop the abuse of children if the laws in place are already not doing so.

    Please read the research:
    Appendixes C and D. are critique’s of Durrant’s research.
    Appendix E is a critique of all anti-spanking lobby’s research and other arguments.

    Abuse is already illegal.

    7. Repealing Section 59 will have adverse effects on my Grandchildren and Future Generations.

    I greatly fear for my children and grandchildren and future generations if Section 59 is repealed. You are saying that we have done a terrible job with our children and cannot pass that onto our future generations.

    As I mentioned at the beginning of this submission I am an expert at raising and training children now. I have had nearly 26 years of full time experience. I know what I am talking about. Children need the security of using force by way of correction. This is how our children know we love them. This is how our children learn the boundaries. This gives them security.

    My children are looking forward to building on what I have learned being a full time Mum. I did not always know the best ways of raising and training my children. I have learned from my own experience and that of other full time parents (those who have home educated their children and so also can say that they are full time Mums).

    My children are in a unique position. I had to learn all I know. My children can build on what I have learned and pass it on to future generations.

    Conclusion:
    Children do not belong to the State or to parents but to God. Children have been given to parents to train not the State. This Bill is supposedly to stop child abuse (which no legislation can do), and incidentally to ban smacking…. but it will effectively destroy parental authority.

    Please, Please make your recommendation to Parliament to drop the repealing of Section 59 and to leave Section 59 as it is. It is a brilliant piece of legislation. Those who drew this up are to be congratulated on writing a piece of legislation that has lasted through the years and one that does not exclude any ones worldview.

    I would like the opportunity to speak to the Select Committee about this submission.

    Sincerely

    Barbara Smith

    Appendix A
    Hi Barbara,
    I am the woman who disciplined her son by using a cane and a riding crop. the following is a copy of an interview with Bob Mc Coskrie on Radio Rhema. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you wish who may be able to make use of this, or you may publish it on your website. just please do not publish my name.. kind regards ……………………………….
    What were the circumstances that led to the charges?
    I have five children and have spent much of the past fifteen parenting alone, though I have recently married a loving Christian man. Trying to juggle on my own between holding down a full time management position and home life and parenting was not an easy task.
    My son had a medical condition as a young child which prevented him from receiving the normal smacks on the bottom a naughty toddler would receive from a loving parent.
    What was the medical condition your son had?
    My son had a transient form of Oesteogenesis Imperfecta, a type of brittle bone disease, which affected the collagen structure of the bones for first years of his life. This has no effect on him now.
    My son therefore has had behavioural problems for a number of years.
    These were exacerbated by him playing off his well meaning Grandmother, who lived close by, against myself. She unwittingly supported his bad behaviour through negative rather than supportive intervention.
    For example if i gave the child time out by putting him in his room when he had been abusive to one of his siblings he would jump out the window and run to her house which was close by, telling her only what suited him and she would arrive on the doorstep and verbally abuse me for putting him in his room without even taking the time to find out what had preceded this.
    If I tried to tell her, or the other children tried to tell her she would make excuses for his behaviour. This led to a boy who became very difficult to control.
    Late last year I was working in conjunction with the school and a psychologist through some plans to assist with managing my sons behavioural problems.
    It is of note that my other children are all relatively well behaved , displaying what I would describe as normal childhood naughtiness
    Tell us about the incident with your son
    I had a call from the school to tell me that my son had deliberately kicked a hole in a toilet entrance door. There were two entrance doors to this particular cloakroom, one was always open and the other locked. Although it was only two meters to walk to the unlocked door my son and another child saw fit to kick the locked door until it opened.
    If you recall, school doors they are big, heavy things and it would take some considerable and deliberate force to kick a hole through one of these wearing only school shoes.
    What was the date you were called to the school and how old was your son at that time?
    My son was twelve years old. I think it was 22 October 2004.
    My son refused to carry out the schools discipline. The deputy principal told me when she called me he had sworn at her when she attempted to get him to write the school rules. She sent him out to the front gate of the school for me to pick him up to take him home to discipline him.
    On the way home from the school I talked to my son about his behaviour and told him it was not acceptable and that I expected him to behave properly and respectfully at school. I told my son that I loved him and that because of his very bad behaviour I had to discipline him. I bent him over the table and gave him six whacks on his trousered bottom with a small bamboo cane.
    Could you describe a little more the small bamboo cane?
    It is about the thickness of my little finger and between 12 and 18 inches in length. The type you use to stake a small pot plant.
    What happened then?
    He apologised for his behaviour and I reassured him that I loved him but disliked the behaviour. He told me he wouldn’t behave like this again and we I then took him back to school, where he complied with what was required of him there.
    What was the reaction of your husband?
    My new husband had a generally good relationship with my son. He had been a “buddy” for him appointed by the family to get alongside the boy for outings and companionship and to enable me to have some respite. It was though his contact with my son that our relationship began. My husband has a closed head injury from an accident some years ago.
    Then what happened?
    About two weeks after the school incident my son was asked to assist my husband bringing in firewood for the night. He took exception to this simple request and did not respond well to my husbands encouragement to help. He picked up a baseball bat and swung it full force at my husbands head screaming that he would give him permanent head injuries. Fortunately my husband was able to block the blow and disarm the boy. If my husband had not seen the baseball bat coming, the consequences could have been dire, as the impact to his head could have seriously maimed him or even killed him.
    I felt I needed to discipline my son for this severe behaviour and looked for the cane, but could not find it. I saw the riding crop close by and thought that will give him a short sharp sting and then administered discipline with that.
    Could you describe a little more the riding crop?
    It is about 18 inches long and approximately as thick as my little finger with a rubber handle at one end, and a small leather flap at the other end that is about half an inch wide and one and a half inches long.
    Why didn’t you use your hand?
    I had spent some time praying about my sons behaviour and read through scripture and felt as a result of that that I had a responsibility to pull my son back into line quickly and effectively before he got into more serious trouble, in a manner which dealt with it on the spot instead of a punishment which dragged on and even showed a lack of forgiveness. I felt his behaviour called for something more than a smack on the bottom.
    ( Bear in mind if he had done either of these things as an adult he would have been likely put in prison. I think if any prisoner was asked if they would prefer a whack on the bottom with a cane or a crop to his sentence he would gladly agree to the discipline)
    The cane and crop both give a short sharp stinging sensation which is memorable but not injurious. I have tried this on myself. The discipline was entirely controlled, over with very quickly and was very effective. AFTERWARDS he gave me a hug and apologised.
    What was the effect of the discipline?
    FROM this point on the boys behaviour changed radically for the better. We had a happy laughing cheerful child who was obedient and a pleasure to have around.
    We had regular monthly meetings at the school to discuss my sons behaviours and progress with a social worker from special education services and attended that months meeting as was planned.
    The deputy principal opened the meeting by saying there had been a huge improvement in my sons behaviour at school and asked how things were at home. We told her we had experienced the same.
    The SES worker then asked what we thought had bought about this change for the better and I told him about the incidences of the discipline. This do gooder went purple and nearly fell of his seat. He told me I was not allowed to discipline in this manner, that it was against the law even to smack.
    I told him he was wrong, that there was no law against this and that the discipline had worked. I said that my Christian beliefs supported my actions.
    Even though the school acknowledged the radical change for the better in my sons behaviour this do gooder contacted CYFS.
    Two social workers from CYFS arrived AT MY PLACE OF WORK, some two weeks later and in a very high handed and officious manner insisted on “interviewing” me in front of my staff and members of the public , telling me I was abusing my child. They clearly had made up their minds that this was the case before even talking to me.
    They refused to leave my workplace, even though I was due to finish in an hour, and told them I would be happy to discuss this with them at home after work. They kept on insisting that it was against the law to hit a child, including smacking, and quoted violence begets violence.
    I told them that my behaviour was controlled and appropriate for the situation, and their interview in my workplace was not appropriate. When they refused to leave, I left work myself and drove away as I was managing a tourist attraction and it was entirely inappropriate for them to even attempt to conduct an interview there.
    The socialworkers took exception to my abrupt ending of their power trip and rang the police. They filed to the family court, without even investigating fully the circumstances of discipline and with out offering the family any support , an exparte order seeking interim custody for my son, on the grounds that he was being physically abused.
    The exparte order meant we were not even informed they were doing this and we had no right of reply to defend it.
    The court awarded CYFS interim custody of my son, based on the hearsay of one social worker alone and without calling evidence to substantiate the social workers claim.
    The department then uplifted my son, maintaining abuse, and the social worker set on a path of character assassination of me because, I believe, I offended him by refusing to discuss the matter in my workplace or back down and admit abuse (which of course had not occurred).
    The social worker then set on a campaign to get the police to prosecute me in order to bolster his claims of abuse. The Police came and interviewed me and it was clear to me during the interview that the police officer was supportive of my actions.
    When were charges laid?
    Charges were not laid for some five months after the interview and as I understand were laid with a great deal of reluctance and under pressure from CYFS.
    When the Police officer bought me the summons he was apologetic and he told me about section 59 and how it allowed for reasonable force in the circumstances. He suggested to me that I had a defence under this section.
    Why do you think you were acquitted
    I did not give evidence at the trial and called no evidence in my defence. The prosecution witnesses clearly showed in their evidence, that this was a boy who was exhibiting extreme and irrational behaviour and needed to be quickly bought into line.
    Why did you not give evidence at the trial or call evidence? did you have a lawyer?
    Yes I did have a lawyer. He cross examined the prosecution witnesses over the course of the trial. As their evidence was very compelling that this was a boy out of control in his behaviour and that the discipline was controlled and effective there was no need for me to give evidence. The jury decided the case based on the evidence provided by the prosecution alone.
    The evidence presented by the prosecution showed that the boys behaviour changed for the better after the discipline.
    The jury clearly thought that UNDER the circumstances presented BY the prosecution, the boys behaviour was out of control and the discipline which bought him quickly into line was reasonable.
    The jury had people from all walks of life including grandparents, professional people, mums, dads and even a school teacher. They reached their unanimous decision within an hour.
    What are the media not reporting OR distorting about the facts of the case?
    The media immediately picked up on this and threw a negative slant in their news coverage. labelling this abuse even though it was proven not to be.
    The media has downplayed my sons radical outrageous behaviour and has focussed on the method of discipline for such as having been inappropriate the circumstances, irrespective of the circumstances which led to this discipline and the fact of the jury finding it not to be an assault.
    Some members of the media have openly verbally attacked the jury and their decision, but only the jury and those in the court room saw the case presented as a whole and their juries decision was reached upon all the relevant information the PROSECUTION presented.
    Was there physical harm to your son as a result of the cane?
    It has been said in the media the discipline produced welts on the boys legs. The evidence in the court described a mark on my sons upper leg as a small linear red mark, from the use of the cane which was not apparent when checked again. This is hugely different from a welt. There was no evidence of any marks from the riding crop.
    I thought it was reported as a horse whip?
    The media has changed the term riding crop to a horse whip. Horse whip conjures up visions of a long stock type whip, where in fact a riding crop is a small item, about 18 inches long and is designed to give a short sharp sting with no seen physical effects. Even though the evidence showed to the contrary, the media have claimed this was a beating. The discipline was controlled and effective.
    Some of the media have also espoused views held by my 19 year old son who is now living away from home. He holds anti smacking views. Many of the things he has claimed are distortions of the truth, inconsistent with fact and widely exaggerated. My eldest son was not part of the court proceedings. The trial by media which followed the court decision, was based on his unsubstantiated claims and has lacked balance and truth to say the least. If what he said was of any relevance to the prosecution in this case I am sure he would have been called by the crown prosecutor to give evidence.
    Your 19 year old son holds anti-smacking views. Why?
    I have had two previous marriages which were both extremely violent. My first husband kicked our small dog in the head popping its eye out of the socket and later stood on the childrens kittens tail and tried to rip its head off. He was convicted in court on this cruelty. He was also very violent to myself and our children, and on one occasion when I put the children in the car and tried to escape he punched the car windows in shattering glass over the children and me. CYFS (or welfare as it was then) assisted me and the children in relocating to another town to flee his violence. My second husband, who was mentally ill ( a fact I didn’t know of when we married ), went to prison for attempting grievous bodily harm on myself and my daughter where he attacked us with a knife and then kicked into my head repeatedly with steel capped work boots and assaulting the other children. I left him in 1996 when he was imprisoned after living with him for not more than 10 months of our married life because of his ongoing violence, (we married in 1994) and I divorced him in 1999.
    I attended a women’s course in 2000 to help break the cycle of family violence and in particular the choices women make in partners and why, and this was a life altering experience. I learned to recognise the character qualities in men who are violent and seeing those I was subsequently able to make more positive choices. As I went through the course I realised that I had suffered from battered woman’s syndrome.
    Renewing my faith has greatly strengthened me and changed my attitudes and self image and has bought me the wonderful, loving, non violent Christian man I am married to now.
    It is fair to say that my eldest son witnessed a lot of things a child should never have to and holds me entirely to blame for this. He has gone as far as to falsely accuse me of some of the things my ex-husbands did.
    Our family has had to go through a healing process as a whole and this process if far from complete for my eldest son, whom often felt responsible in some way, even though I reassured him it wasn’t his fault and there was nothing he could have done.
    I feel that because he has witnessed violence to the extent he has, and the violence he was subjected to by my ex husbands, that he taken the view that any hitting of any kind constitutes violence.
    My eldest son and I had a falling out over me not approving of him spending school nights at his girlfriends at the age of 16, and me feeling that her influence was less than positive on him, and his reckless driving of the car I had bought him. Despite numerous approaches from myself seeking conciliation and healing he has pursued a path of hate and blame which deeply saddens me, because all though there were bad times with my ex husbands there were many many good times after I had removed us all from those situations.
    My other children’s attitudes are very different from his. I have excellent relationships with all of them, and we are free and able to talk about all manner of things. My 18 year old daughter describes me as her very best friend, but also respects me as her Mum. She is a mature and responsible young woman who holds down a responsible job.
    Was he smacked?
    Yes my eldest son was smacked by me and only if his behaviour warranted it. The discipline he received from me was either non physical or was with a smack of the hand on the bottom or on the hand with a what we called a smacking spoon. Generally speaking he was a good boy. When he was 15 or 16 he had bullied one of the younger children and was rude to me when I told him not to. I gave him the choice of discipline, either a smack or grounding and he chose the smack cos it was over and done with quickly.
    What other methods of discipline have you used?
    I have always used a number of methods to discipline my children which have included a warning, an apology, time out, loss of privilege, and smacking. This depended on the nature of what had occurred. I only ever had used a cane or a riding crop to bring into line very extreme behaviour and it worked when nothing else did. The media has branded me a violent angry uncaring woman who should be whipped herself. To the contrary, I love my children and want them to become responsible adults whose life reflects personal discipline and respect for others.
    The mainstream media say that my behaviour was unreasonable and abuse irrespective of the court decision. I say to them they do not know my son or his behaviour or even the full circumstances and are not in a position to judge. This was not normal childhood naughtiness, it was outrageous over the top behaviour, and I would further challenge those who have said this that given the same circumstances they would definitely discipline along similar lines.
    The commissioner for children has become involved and is relying on the above mentioned distortions of truth in mainstream media as being fact, in this case, to push for the repealing of section 59. I wonder if the commissioner has children of her own, and if so how does she discipline them?
    What have been your dealings with CYFS
    Cyfs have failed to offer constructive support for a badly behaved child in his family situation. When I asked the social worker if there were any effective alternatives to the wide variety of methods I have used to modify my sons behaviour, both physical and non physical , he could offer NO ALTERNATIVES, but still told me what I was doing was wrong, even though it had been effective!! The social worker told me it was not his role to provide me with this type of information. Neither did he have any literature to recommend to assist with alternative methods suitable to CYFS to address my sons behavioural problems.
    I have found CYFS to be highhanded in their dealings, having a particular mindset and a zeal to prove abuse even if it has not occurred, which they will look neither to the left nor right from.
    Even though the court of law has ruled an assault did not occur, CYFS are refusing to return my son to me on the grounds he was assaulted. Even though I have given them an undertaking (against my beliefs and in an effort to have my son returned home where he wants to be), not to discipline him in this matter again they are refusing to return him because they maintain he is likely to be abused, as at one point I said I would simply smack his bottom instead with my hand if he needed it .
    Do all CYFS workers operate on this policy
    I have spoken to four different CYFS social workers about smacking and they all hold and maintain the belief that it is against the law to smack children. That smacking constitutes violence and violence begets violence (their favourite quote). I have been told it is their POLICY to REMOVE children from the care of parents who smack to discipline. They will not advocate smacking in any form. I have pointed out that this is contrary to the law which allows for reasonable physical discipline and have been told that this is not relevant, that the department has an anti smacking policy and maintains the right to uplift and hold children who are being disciplined this way.
    The implication of this is that their policies are ABOVE the law and that they have exclusive right to make law for their department irrespective of the law of the land.
    Because I offended the socialworker initially by walking out on the interview he tried to conduct at my workplace, he has begun a personal witch hunt and character assassination which has become far removed from the issue at hand which is the interests of my son and his right to be reunited with his family who ,irrespective of his behaviour, love him.
    The social worker has twisted and distorted comments made by family members to suit his own agenda. He has even on occasion deliberately lied even claiming my son had said things when he interviewing him which my Son was very clear that he had not said.
    It is also of interest that he carried out an interview with my son without my knowledge and without offering him any adult support- which is in direct breach of the act.
    This social worker has put an application before the court for a declaration in respect of two of my other children on the grounds that they “could be at risk of being abused” even though these children and family members have made it clear that this is not the case.
    We were all very excited when I won the court case because CYFS had indicated my son would be returned if I won. My son was looking forward to coming home, and we had made lots of plans.
    After we won the court case the social worker rang the care giver and told him my son was not allowed to come home with me and I was not to be picking him up. He further told the caregiver I was not allowed to see my son.
    He also as recently as last week physically tried to prevent my son from talking to me on the phone by trying to snatch away the phone as it was passed by my sons caregiver to my son. I over heard him yelling “I SAID NO”. This action frightened my son so much that he subsequently ran away from the social worker and rang me from a house where he felt safe. The person who owned the house described him as obviously frightened and crying.
    The social worker has denied me access to my son, without having a court order to support this, and even though I have had extended unsupervised access to him previously this year, which have included him staying with us for several days at a time and not wishing to return to his caregiver.
    This social worker has used untrue allegations made by an extremely violent and abusive ex husband, from whom the department helped me shift some 15 years ago, against me, in his affidavits to the family court.
    The social worker has even stated at one point that I am an evil woman because I stood with my hands on my hips and glared at him. Am I expected to be pleasant smiling and happy because he has wrongfully removed my son from my care? Get real.
    The social worker has also told my son that I broke the law disciplining him the way I did. This has not only undermined my parenting in front of my son but it has caused a lot of confusion to my son.
    Where is your boy now?
    My now 13 year old son is living with a relative
    Have you had any other involvement with CYFS
    What is truly interesting is that I have provided respite care a CYFS client in 1992, I was appointed by CYFS to supervise access for a family friend in 1997, and have had two 17 year old youths who were under CYFS supervision boarding with me in 1999 and 2003 with the permission of their respective social workers. This hardly would have happened if CYFS felt I was in any way abusive.
    Have you done any work for cyfs since 2003?
    No and I need to clarify that I was not employed by them, but rather approved by the social workers involved in the individual cases to take care of or supervise these other children and young people.
    What was the family court system like?
    The family court system is farcical to say the least. The words of social workers are taken as completely true and the family court always supports CYFS in their exparte applications for interim custody and children are subsequently removed from their homes on suspicion alone. Many children remain in CYFS custody for years because the parents do know how to fight the system or run out of finances to do so, or give up because they can no longer cope with the huge stress of dealing with CYFS and the wiles of the all to powerful social workers.
    When CYFS take a matter to the family court they seek what is called an application for declaration and a family group conference is called for. The declaration for care and protection they seek and the way it is worded at a family group conference it could relate to any child in any given situation in the country and misrepresents the true meaning of the declaration.
    Why did you agree to the declaration?
    We were bullied into agreeing to the declaration by being told that if we didn’t agree the court process would be drawn out for years during which time my son would be kept in CYFS care.
    What have been the costs?
    We have had to fight a costly battle, both emotionally and financially, for my children and have only an average chance of succeeding because even though the court of law shows abuse did not occur, because too much weight is placed by the family court on the OPINION of the social worker even if it is not reasonably held. Too bad the one we have does not like me- and this is so often what it boils down to.
    So far this fight has cost about $10,000 and it is still not over.
    What does your son say about all this?
    My son is begging CYFS and his family court lawyer to come home (this surely would not be the case if he considered himself abused?) and we are begging to have him here and they refuse outright saying that the family court process must follow through.
    LAW HAS SAID AND A JURY HAS FOUND I HAVE NOT DONE WRONG AND THEREFORE IT FOLLOWS MY SON MUST BE RETURNED HOME. CYFS should have withdrawn their applications immediately upon the ruling of the jury and they have not. They should have retuned my son home and they have not. How can this be? CYFS are flouting the law in doing this.
    Nothing has been done at all to strengthen this family. CYFS have failed to uphold their mission statement. “Strengthening Families” is baloney.
    Do you know of other families in similar circumstances?
    I have personal knowledge of another local family where the husband was accused of abuse by CYFS, He was ordered out of the house by CYFS. As I understand the situation, CyFS insisted on charges being laid and the police withdrew the charges through lack of evidence, but even so, this family is still fighting in family court for custody of their daughter and restoration of their family. Their social worker, who is not the same one as our case gone on a personal mission to prove abuse when it has not occurred. Something has to be done to stop power hungry social workers in CYFS from dividing and separating families rather than supporting them und upholding the family unit.
    Where to from here?
    I will continue to fight for my son through the system.. could listeners please pray for a release of finances to cover legal costs so far…and for a sensible decision in the family court and the restoration of the family.
    I will also fight to draw attention to the unfairness and unlawful actions of CYFS workers who operate above the law. The purpose of CHILDREN, YOUNG PERSONS, AND THEIR FAMILIES ACT 1989 says in its primary objectives that the act is intended to (a) To advance the wellbeing of families and the wellbeing of children and young persons as members of families, whanau, hapu, iwi, and family groups. and (b To make provision for families, whanau, hapu, iwi, and family groups to receive assistance in caring for their children and young persons.
    This is not happening in our society.
    According to what CYFS social workers have told me CHILDREN ARE ALREADY being removed from their families because parents have smacked them or might smack them. The average New Zealander is not aware of this and awareness of such needs to raised as CYFS is operating ABOVE the law. Their actions in removing children in such a manner definitely do nothing to promote the wellbeing of the family and the children.
    It is important that the parents right to smack is upheld.
    No child has ever been permanently maimed or injured ,to my knowledge, from a smack on the buttocks or indeed from a cane across the buttocks. Children who are undisciplined grow into undisciplined adults.
    The USA have discouraged physical Discipline for a number of years now and all this has served to raise a generation of young people who push their boundaries to the extent that we regularly hear of schools and churches rampaged by young people wielding weapons and going on killing sprees. Dr Benjamin Spock who promoted anti smacking thinking. his own son is reported to have committed suicide.
    In Great Britain smacking has been discouraged and the result of such is programmes like Little Angels which is currently screening on television one where the children are absolutely out of control.
    The studies of Sweden which have been well aired on Rhema recently show the anti smacking law there has failed.
    In Australia where smacking is now frowned upon the rate of criminal activity amongst children and youth is skyrocketing. Dr Christopher Green who wrote about his non physical theories for “toddler taming” had no children at the time he wrote this and yet his work is esteemed in an anti smacking society as being positive parenting.
    We as a nation must stand up against what is happening in this country. We should not let the unsubstantiated opinions of MINORITY groups be pushed into our law books.
    I remember sitting in on a court hearing once relatively recently where a youth had gone on a rampage smashing car windows and the judge spoke to both him and his father who was attending. He said “Young man you lack discipline, and If you were my son I know what I would be taking you home to do right now and I suggest your father does this!”
    What do you think of s59 allowing reasonable force in discipline?
    I want to actively encourage parents to call for a public referendum on the repealing of section 59, I believe the section needs to be defined not repealed. I believe that this section is being wrongfully used in some circumstances, ie a beating with a four by two or a chain, punching or hitting around the head is not in my view reasonable. Controlled discipline using a smack on the bottom, a cane or similar or a leather strap administered to the hand or buttocks can be entirely appropriate in a given situation.
    Repealing section 59 will mean that even a simply hug offered to an unwilling child constitutes assault, as will a gentle shove towards the bedroom when the child doesn’t want to go, a smack on the bottom will be a chargeable offence and parents can and will be charged with assault for such and their children will be removed from their care.
    I will defend a parents right to reasonably discipline their child through the writing of letters, emails, etc .
    I would like to encourage all listeners who believe that loving reasonable physical discipline is the right and Godly thing to do to write to their MPs and further to all members of cabinet ( their email addys are available on www.govt.nz) calling for a referendum.
    I also respectfully suggest that our Prime Minister, as good as her intentions may be, is not a parent and therefore not in a position to make a fully qualified decision about what is appropriate parenting behaviour. I would also be interested in knowing whether Sue Bradford ever smacked any of her five children.
    Were either Ms Clark or Ms Bradford or any of the other politicians who help make our laws smacked on the hand or the bottom as a child? Did any get a whack with a cane or strap at home or school? Did this permanently impair them in any way or make them an unbalanced or violent adult? (side note not part of interview- maybe you could poll the politicians asking them this Bob???)
    If we remove discipline from our society moral integrity and respect for others will disappear.
    This fight is not one of flesh but of principalities and powers and it is time for the Christian nation to rise up and say enough! Stop this madness.
    I have been praying against the spirit of apathy which has been over many Christian people in this nation who even though they see the wrongs taking place in this country do not rise up and take action against them. I will pray for families to be strengthened and for govt departments like CYFS to work to strengthen them. I will pray for a move of God on the hearts of our nation to reveal truth and highlight the folly of the nations ways.
    I pray daily for my family that it will be restored and that all those who have been involved in this case in any way at all will be blessed and will come to know God and gain salvation through his Son.
    I would like to encourage listeners to do the same and after praying, start writing letters, get on the phone, email and contact newspapers, television and our political leaders calling for a referendum on section 59, opposing the repealing of such and upholding a definition of reasonable force. If listeners believe smacking is an effective and appropriate discipline stand up now and be counted before it is too late.

    Appendix B

    http://anti-matters.net/2004/submissions-to-select-committee/

    Appendix C

    http://www.families-first.org.uk/art/sweden.pdf


    Appendix D click on the D

    Differentiating Evidence from Advocacy in Evaluating Sweden’s Spanking Ban: A Response to Joan Durrant’s Critique of my Booklet “Sweden’s Smacking Ban: More Harm Than Good”
    Robert E. Larzelere
    July 2005

    Appendix E

    http://anti-matters.net/2005/taking-smacking-seriously/

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