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    1 – 28 October 2007

    By admin | October 29, 2007

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0710/S00389.htm
    New Psychological Testing of Children is Abusive

    Sunday, 28 October 2007, 1:38 pm
    Press Release: Citizens Commission on Human Rights

    Citizens Commission On Human Rights New Zealand Established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights

    New Psychological Testing of Children is Abusive

    The Citizens Commission on Human Rights are warning people about behavioural screening programmes for children and the use of drugs for learning disorders in an exhibition now on.

    Commission director, Mr Steve Green is concerned about the new “b4 school checks” pilot programme currently being advertised by the Counties Manukau District Health Board because of their psychological screening component for four-year-olds.

    “People are not aware that these psychological screening programmes are not based on medicine and the assessments often lead to treatment of fictitious mental disorders,” Mr Green said.

    The Commission said that the psychological testing of four-year-old for behavioural problems to be used by the “b4 school check” programme is a five-minute checklist a parent fills out.

    Such tests, the Commission claims, are unscientific as they claim that a small child who cannot stay still for long and who fidgets is abnormal.

    The Goodman Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire is the one being used in the “b4 school check” for psychological and behavioural problems and its results can be wildly out with over 50% of children apparently abnormal, the Commission claims.

    The Commission fully supports the actual health checks for the “b4 school checks” but says the psychological testing stigmatizes children with mental disorders that in reality do not exist.

    “These labels stay with a person for ever and most people are not aware that mental disorders are voted into being by a panel of psychiatrists at a convention. There are no scientific or medical tests that support mental illness or disorders,” said Mr Green.

    He also said that psychiatry has no test for normal behaviour and so the abnormal can be cultural and language differences which are not taken into account.

    Ends


    30 October – Office of the Children’s Commissioner – Children’s Commissioner backs charter

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0710/S00389.htm

    Children’s Commissioner backs charter
    Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 11:36 am
    Press Release: Office of the Children’s Commissioner

    Children’s Commissioner backs charter for children and young people in care

    As a champion for the rights of every child and young person in New Zealand, Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro supports the charter for children and young people in care, launched by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) today.

    “The development of this charter and its implementation plan shows Child, Youth and Family’s commitment to ensuring that children and young peoples’ rights are promoted and protected while they are in care.

    “My office has heard directly from children and young people in care that they want a pamphlet on their rights and they want to know who to talk with if they have concerns or complaints.

    “Four young people spoke at the Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, hosted by my office in February last year (2006). When asked what children and young people in care need in order to blossom, they identified four important areas that required attention. These are: stigma, rights, resilience and stability.

    “One of the speakers pointed out that the care system is there to protect them from others, not others from them.

    “Being placed in care can be an extremely traumatic time for children and young people. I support them in their desire to have up-to-date information about their rights and about what to do if they are not happy with their situation. It is important that we listen when children and young people voice their opinions and that they can see the powerful effect they can have on policy and practice when they do.

    “I believe it is important that all children and young people in New Zealand are aware that they have individual rights, as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).

    “I commend CYF on its implementation plan that allows for all children and young people to receive a copy of the charter as they come into care; for those already in care to have a meeting with their social worker to explain what the charter means to them; and for all caregivers to be made aware of the charter as well. I believe this process will be valuable in developing a relationship of trust that children and young people in care must have with their social worker.

    “We are keen to see the charter work in tandem with a youth-friendly complaints process.

    “We would also like to see the charter embodied in the legislation to give it even more strength to ensure children and young people in care enjoy good health, education, safety and adequate resources and opportunities to develop to their full potential.”

    ends


    28 October 2007 – tvnz – Mother angered by anti-smacking law

    http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/536641/1418227

    Mother angered by anti-smacking law
    Oct 28, 2007 9:48 AM

    A mother is speaking out about her family’s fear of being pulled apart thanks to the anti-smacking laws.

    The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, has written a letter about her experiences to lobby group Family First.

    She claims she was approached by CYF after her child’s school dobbed her in for smacking.

    The woman says a teacher had been questioning the child about their home life, after an incident involving a classmate.

    Family First Director Bob McCoskrie says it’s the kind of thing every parent fears from the anti smacking law, but says it’s not the only time the woman’s felt the effects of anti-smacking law.

    He says she had previously given the boy a smack to get the boy off the trampoline and police arrived in 20 minutes saying a complaint had been laid.

    McCoskrie says the incident was then referred to a foster care agency who contacted the woman.

    He says no one wants to come to CYF’s attention, and it’s also a worry the school didn’t talk to the parents first.

    McCoskrie says the law needs to be clearer so families who really need help can get it.


    28 October 2007 – Stuff – School dobs mum to CYF for hand smack

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4253352a10.html

    School dobs mum to CYF for hand smack
    By RUTH LAUGESEN – Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 28 October 2007

    A Wellington mother says her family has been left traumatised by new anti-smacking laws, after her son’s school reported her to Child, Youth and Family for smacking him on the hand.

    “I don’t want to feel like a child abuser, and I don’t want to be labelled as a child abuser because I smacked my son,” she said. “It’s brought a lot of trauma to our family unit and unnecessary stress.”

    The woman, who did not wish to be named because she says she fears losing her children, says another smacking several months later resulted in a visit from police.

    In the first incident, she came home one day in the July school holidays to find a card left by Child, Youth and Family asking her to contact a care and protection officer.

    The officer told her the agency had received a complaint from the school after her son had hit another child with a ball. When asked why, the boy told the teacher he had been smacked that morning.

    The mother of four said she had smacked him on the hand after he had “thrown a wobbly” instead of getting ready for school. The smack had left no mark.

    She said hers was “just an average Kiwi family”. Both parents worked, did not smoke or drink or “have any addictions”. They smacked rarely, preferring to use time out. She said the care and protection officer had decided not to take the matter any further.

    The school was unrepentant when her husband questioned its handling of the matter.

    In the second incident, in September, three police officers arrived at her house after she smacked her child outside, and a neighbour complained. The police questioned her and the child separately before deciding not to take the matter any further.

    A friend who was at the house at the time, Gabrielle Allen, said the arrival of police was astonishing and intimidating.

    “My friend is loud, there’s a lot of volume. She’s just excitable. I think she’s a great mum, and she really loves her children. She’s consistent but she’s not over the top with discipline at all.”

    The mother then contacted Family First, a lobby group that vociferously opposed smacking law changes passed in June. The organisation put her in touch with the Sunday Star-Times.

    The mother said she had not previously been involved in Family First and had had some sympathy with Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill, “not thinking that it would affect us on a personal level”.

    Family First spokesman Bob McCroskrie said parents now feared the law, and Child, Youth and Family.

    A spokeswoman for Associate Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said the minister did not believe the CYFs intervention was a result of the June law change, but reflected greater community sensitivity to child abuse.

    The Education Ministry said schools had not been given any fresh instructions about reporting smacking since the legislation came in.


    26 October 2007 – dailymail.co.uk – Government u-turn as ministers tell parents they CAN smack their children

    Government u-turn as ministers tell parents they CAN smack their children

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=489636&in_page_id=1770

    UK Report
    25th October 2007

    Smacking ok:

    The government will not ban parents smacking their children

    Ministers ruled out a complete ban on smacking today after a Government review found the majority of parents opposed such a move.

    Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan said the law would stay as it is after officials reviewed the way new rules were working.

    Despite calls from many organisations for a ban, Mr Brennan said the evidence was that fewer parents now use smacking to discipline their children.

    In a statement to MPs, he said: “Whilst many parents say they will not smack, a majority of parents say that smacking should not be banned outright.

    “The Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily.”

    Mr Brennan’s announcement came after the Government conducted a review of the law, which changed in the 2004 Children’s Act.

    Section 58 of the Act removed the the defence of reasonable punishment from parents and adults acting “in loco parentis” who are charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, wounding or grievous bodily harm, or cruelty to a child.

    At the time, ministers promised to review the law to assess whether it was working.

    Officials surveyed parents, children and examined other evidence for the review, which took place this summer…..

    But he continued: “Many organisations however support legislation to ban smacking.

    “The police have discretion to deal with cases as they consider appropriate, taking into account factors including the evidence available, the public interest and the best interests of the child.

    “The law is clear and section 58 has improved protection for children.

    “But there appears to be a lack of awareness across different audiences about the scope and application of the law.

    “In response, the Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily.

    “We will also do more to help with positive parenting.”

    Shadow children’s minister Tim Loughton said: “This is a clear victory for common-sense.

    “Clearly, if any adult is responsible for abuse and violence towards a child they need to face the full rigour of the law.

    “But there is a world of difference between that and criminalising loving parents that use chastisement as they see fit in the interest of their child.…….

    For full article and comments go to:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=489636&in_page_id=1770

    Comments (20)


    25 October – More Swedish Parents Smack Their Children

    http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/international/nyhetssidor/artikel.asp?nyheter=1&programid=2054&Artikel=1673347

    More Swedish Parents Smack Their Children

    The number of Swedish parents admitting to hitting their children is growing, despite smacking being illegal here.

    In a new study by Karlstad University 2.3% of parents say they physically punish their children, that’s more than double the figures from the last study from the year 2000.

    Over 23% of parents say that they have shaken or pushed their children at some time over the past year. Staffan Janson, who was in charge of the study, says that he thinks that recent media coverage of parents needing to set boundaries for their kids has meant that some parents have gone too far.


    25 October 2007 – Family First – Mallard Supported Anti-Smacking Bill – Should Resign

    MEDIA RELEASE
    25 October 2007

    Mallard Supported Anti-Smacking Bill – Should Resign

    Family First is calling on Labour MP Trevor Mallard to resign as a result of assaulting another MP.

    “Not only has he set an atrocious example to our young people, but in May he voted for Sue Bradford’s bill to ban reasonable parental correction,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

    “Mr Mallard has seen fit to criminalise good parents who use a light smack for the purpose of correction, yet has assaulted another MP. No reasonable force. Not for the purpose of correction. Simply a lack of control and discipline.”

    “Mr Mallard can suggest that there were extenuating circumstances, but this same defence is not available to parents. Police discretion should not be available in an extreme case like this,” says Mr McCoskrie. “There was absolutely nothing reasonable in what he did.”

    In the interests of maintaining the integrity and standard of political leadership, Mr Mallard should accept the standards imposed on all other New Zealand’s and resign.

    ENDS

    For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
    Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director
    Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42


    24 October 2007 – Family First – Smacking Law Affecting Good Families

    Smacking Law Affecting Good Families
    Family First is starting to be contacted by families who are being affected by Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking law. These cases are heartbreaking and are proving that the law is ineffective, having no effect on rates of child abuse or child abuse deaths, and is penalising good parents.

    IF YOU HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE NEW ANTI-SMACKING LAWS (or you know of other families who have), PLEASE CONTACT Family First AS SOON AS POSSIBLE bob@familyfirst.org.nz

    Family First will be releasing to the media examples of good parents being targeted by CYF, schools and police. Please contact Family First in the strictest confidence.

    Please also join us in the “Great NZ Table Challenge” as we seek to gain the remaining 90,000 signatures required for a National Referendum on Child Abuse and Parental Correction.

    Family First NZ is joining with a new group Unity for Liberty and other groups in inviting all concerned New Zealanders across the country to ‘take up arms’ – that means pens, tables and petition forms!

    When : The Month of November (Saturdays, if you can do more days even better)
    Where : The length and breadth of New Zealand
    Why : To achieve the 300,000 signatures for the Citizens Initiated Referendum (already 210,000 collected)
    How : By being available in your own communities for NZ’ers to sign the petition. Ring up a local shop and ask to run a table outside their business on a Saturday or for a few days. Perhaps a sports field – mid-week touch – flower shows – Expos – wherever there’s a crowd (the possibilities are endless!)

    CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/index.cfm/sign_the_petitions.html

    LET’S FINISH WHAT WE STARTED


    20 October – Daily Mail – Toddlers allowed to run wild risk being violent adults, parents told

    Toddlers allowed to run wild risk being violent adults, parents told
    Daily Mail 20th October 2007

    Curbing aggression in children in their pre-school years is the key to ensuring they do not grow into violent adults, parents are being warned. Toddlers do not learn aggression from other children, TV, video games or adults, says a leading child psychiatrist. Instead, most are naturally physically belligerent, claims Professor Richard Tremblay, from the University of Montreal.

    He says children reach their peak of aggressive behaviour between 18 and 42 months. If parents fail to intervene at this stage, it could make the difference between a child growing up normally or turning into a violent adult. There is even evidence that uncontrolled aggression in the first few years is linked to criminal and drug-taking behaviour as adults, said Professor Tremblay. Professor Tremblay – who is due to present his research at the Royal Society in London today, warned: “Learning how not to be violent – which mostly takes place during the pre- school years – is dependent on both genetic and environmental factors.” READ MORE HERE: http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/index.cfm/media_centre/recent_news/news/toddlers_allowed_to_run_wild_risk_being_violent_adults.html

    Family First Comment : But didn’t Bradford, Clark and Kiro tell us that it was smacking, smacking and smacking that led to violent kids??? Perhaps a ‘reasonable’ smack is just what is needed! Yet more proof that the ban on smacking was ideologically driven rather than based on solid evidence and research.


    23 October 2007 – NZPA – Summit to combat Maori child abuse

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4247015a8153.html

    Summit to combat Maori child abuse
    NZPA | Tuesday, 23 October 2007

    ABUSE SUMMIT: Anglican minister Hone Kaa says Maori should take responsibility for child abuse in their community, and is organising a hui to address the problem.

    The death of Maori children at the hands of their parents and caregivers is genocide, Anglican minister Hone Kaa says.

    He yesterday announced a summit would be held in Auckland in November to tackle the issue of Maori child abuse.

    He has invited Maori from the Waikato, Auckland and Northland to the summit.

    The summit will be called Nga Mana Ririki, which means the Power of the Little Ones.

    “Tamariki Maori are more likely to be abused and killed by their whanau than any other group in the country. It is time to stop this genocide.”

    Dr Kaa said there had been much public discussion, but very little action, over the reasons why Maori child abuse rates were so high.

    Ministry for Social Development figures show Maori children are almost twice as likely than non-Maori children to be assessed as abused or neglected. In 2003, the rate per 1000 was 11.9 for Maori and 5.9 for non-Maori.

    Dr Kaa said it was time for Maori to take responsibility for the issue and develop solutions that worked.

    The hui would be by invitation. Participants would hear from a range of Maori experts, and then draw up a strategic plan.

    “It’s an ambitious project but I am absolutely confident in the ability of the Maori we are calling together. We converted from internecine warfare and cannibalism little more than a century ago, so I am sure we can stop abusing and killing our children.”

    Project manager Anton Blank pointed to the Smokefree campaign as an existing template for this type of project.

    “Sustained communications and branding combined with community action and intervention services have resulted in a reduction of Maori smoking rates. We can do the same with Maori child abuse,” Mr Blank said.

    The summit will open with a memorial service on November 25, and will run until November 28. The service, which is open to everyone, will be held at the Holy Sepulchre Church on Auckland’s Khyber Pass Rd.

    Dr Kaa said politicians and decision makers would be invited to the last day of the summit, to review the plan and discuss how they might support Nga Mana Ririki.


    10 October 2007 – Family First – PM Should Call for End to Death Penalty of Unborn Child

    MEDIA RELEASE
    10 October 2007

    PM Should Call for End to Death Penalty of Unborn Child

    Family First is calling on the Prime Minister to be consistent, and call for the end of the death penalty to both adults and the unborn child.

    In joining Amnesty International’s call today to end the death penalty worldwide, the Prime Minister said “The death penalty violates the right to life and is by definition and in practice, a cruel and degrading treatment. It is known to have been inflicted on the innocent. It’s very nature means it cannot be reversed.”

    Family First agrees, and therefore calls on her government to immediately change the law which allows the death penalty being inflicted on the unborn child because of the abuse of the ‘mental health’ exemption clause in the existing legislation.

    “It is ironic that during the smacking debate, the PM argued that children should enjoy the same protection as adults – yet has conveniently forgotten this principle in relation to the unborn child,” says Mr McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

    “It is also hypocritical of Amnesty International to call for the end of the death penalty despite its recent decision to support abortion as a human right. They have no credibility on this matter anymore.”

    “Family First awaits the Prime Minister’s amendment to the current abortion laws which allow, on average, 18,000 unborn children to be aborted every year.”

    ENDS

    For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

    Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director
    Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42


    Poll

    Do you think that tougher penalties should be introduced for young offenders who commit serious crimes?

    See story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/4220854a10.html

    Yes (2968 votes, 95.4%)
    No (144 votes, 4.6%)

    Stuff polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.

    It is not tougher penalties that should be introduced for young offenders who commit serious crimes. We need to be training the parents on how to raise up their children so that they do not commit minor or serious crimes.

    We do not need the State interferring more in families.
    We need to give the parents the tools to train and correct their children as necessary.


    1 October 2007 – The Dominion Post – Police ‘powerless to act’ on child crims

    “The reality is 15- and 16-year-olds don’t suddenly become violent,” Mr O’Connor said.

    NZ First MP Ron Mark has drafted a bill that would lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12, and introduce tougher penalties for young offenders who commit serious crimes.

    We don’t need to lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12 we just need to give parents the OK to discipline and correct their children. This is years of PC gone wrong where NGOs have been telling parents not to use reasonable force to correct their children. We are seeing the results and these results will be multiplied now that Section 59 has been amended.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4220854a10.html

    Police ‘powerless to act’ on child crims
    By EMILY WATT – The Dominion Post | Monday, 1 October 2007

    Children too young to be prosecuted have been implicated in more than 8500 crimes in one year, and police say they are often powerless to intervene.

    Officers say there is little they can do in the cases, such as a 10- year-old who attacked classmates with a piece of timber, two 12-year-olds with 33 burglary charges, and a 13-year-old who attacked police with a baseball bat.

    One Lower Hutt 13-year-old in social welfare care for sexual offences abused two-year-olds four more times while in care, with police unable to act.

    Police usually rely on care and protection orders to intervene with troubled children through the Family Court, but officers say this can be difficult when many of them come from working two-parent families where Child, Youth and Family is unlikely to become involved.

    Justice Ministry statistics show police apprehended 700 children aged under 10 and 7900 children aged 10 to 13 last year for crimes including violence, drugs and burglary. Property offences were the most common crimes committed..

    Police say anecdotal evidence suggests young people are offending younger and more violently. By the time police are able to intervene, when the child turns 14, the behaviour is often entrenched.

    Children under 14 can only be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter.

    NZ First MP Ron Mark has drafted a bill that would lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12, and introduce tougher penalties for young offenders who commit serious crimes.

    Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft and Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro have criticised the bill.

    Police say they do not want to criminalise young people, but lowering the age of criminal responsibility would allow police to intervene and offer the help they need – before they became hardened criminals.

    Police Association president Greg O’Connor said police also wanted the Youth Court empowered to better deal with these young people quickly and more effectively.

    Lower Hutt Youth Aid Sergeant Steve O’Connor said most children who misbehaved were dealt with effectively by parents and schools. But the small group of serious or recidivist offenders were slipping through the cracks.

    Some of the behaviours seen by young children were “quite frightening”, including taking knives to school and assaulting other children.

    Youth offending figures were “overwhelmingly under-reported”, because many police simply took the children home without documenting the incident. But if young offenders were not dealt with, they would go on to further crime.

    “The reality is 15- and 16-year-olds don’t suddenly become violent,” Mr O’Connor said.

    Mr Mark said the Justice Ministry statistics were further proof the age of prosecution should be lowered. “In four years’ time they will be the graduates of the failing youth justice system, and they will become the very adults that people are bleating about being in our jails.”

    Mr Mark’s bill is being examined by a select committee.

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