Why are you concerned about the Repeal of Section 59?

Why are you concerned about the Repeal of Section 59? I don’t understand your concern about the repeal of Section 59. Surely you don’t really think that parents who smack their children are going to be hounded, harrassed, scrutinised, or charged with a criminal offence as a result? Please think seriously about the real intent behind this action.

Thanks so much for your comments.

I will think the best of the intent behind the moves to repeal Section 59, that they want to see child abuse drastically reduced. So do I. I’m sure near all of us want that.

However, the bottom line is that legislation will not stop it. We all know that. Legislation against murder doesn’t stop it. Legislation against speeding doesn’t stop it. Legislation against theft doesn’t stop it. Legislation doesn’t do what we want it to do, if, and I’m using a qualified “if” here…..if the objective is to reduce to the point of elimination the incidence of child abuse.

I’ve talked with MP Sue Bradford who has introduced this bill. I’ve talked with Dr Cindy Kiro, the Commissioner for children. I’ve talked with Dr Joan Durrant, anti-smacking expert from Canada. I’ve talked with Beth Wood from UNICEF. I’ve talked with national office staff from Plunket and Barnardoes. You know what I’ve found? These folks define “violence” and “abuse” in a very different way than you and I would. They DO see a wee smack on the bottom as abuse. They see a slap on the wrist as violence.

Although they say they do not intend to see honest, caring, responsible parents hounded and harrassed for giving a wee smack now and then, and although they say there is no evidence that such harrassment happens in countries such as Sweden, I’m afraid I have to totally disagree with them. I do not know if they say these things from ignorance or from a desire to cloud and hide the facts.

First, why would they promote having laws on the books that they say they do not expect the police to enforce? If ever section 59 gets repealed, it becomes illegal for parents to use any force at all with their chidren. At first this sounds unbelievable. But that is the effect of repealing Section 59: should a parent force a child to finish his veggies or go to bed against the child’s will, the parent has committed criminal assault. All it takes is for the child or any other person to lay a complaint about the use of the force, and both the police and CYPs will be knocking at the door.

Second, there is plenty of evidence that this goes on. Visit our website,
www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz click on
Research and visit two of the options: “Listen to Newstalk ZB Interview” and “Smacking the Parents”. Then click on
Links Visit the “NCHR — Nordic Committee for Human Rights” link. There is enough there to keep you aghast for weeks. Some of the other Links we’ve listed talk of related things: how government run, so-called “Child Protection Services” are out of control in the USA, victimising and destroying families apparently at will and without fear of being brought to justice.

I am convinced that whenever Government goes where it should not go, it makes worse the problem it ostensibly went there to fix.

Sex education has caused even more youth to become sexually active and increased the spread of STDs. Drug education has increased the use of drugs. So called “education” run by the state, the state schools, have steadily dumbed down the entire population. Read the
Ministry of Social Development’s own webpage about how 46% of adult NZers are functionally illiterate if you don’t believe me. These adults are virtually ALL products of the state schools. Read on that page the Maori statistics…they are heartbreaking, and we know that today’s adult Maori were almost totally and exclusively schooled by the state (not being big users of private schools…and the Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa have not been around long enough to be blamed for these statistics). Unemployment benefits have increased the number of chronically unemployed. I’ve tried to employ such folks…it’s as if they’ve had the stuffings kicked out of them…no more motivation to work or to learn how to work since it is so easy to stand in a queue to get a livable wage. The DPB has created a whole new class of citizen who leave school with the aim of going onto the DPB…I’ve met them. Sickness benefits have likewise created a class of chronically ill.

The experience of Sweden and the USA shows that when the state gets involved in caring for children, real abuse increases: specifically the abuse of children being left untrained and undisciplined by their parents for fear of being charged with assault plus the children being taken from their parents when they did try to discipline using force. The parent-child bond is very resiliant and can take a lot of stress. But when it is severed, as when these state agents take children into state “care”, it is the children who suffer most, primarily via the emotional trauma but secondarily via physical and sexual abuse and exploitation in the hands of professional “foster parents”.

The major concern is one I’ve alluded to already: that if Section 59 is ever repealed, ALL parents will become criminals as soon as they use any force whatsoever with their children. Actually, the definition of assault, in Section 2 of the Crimes Act, is so broad that a parent only needs to cause the child to believe the parent is going to use force to exert the parent’s will, and the parent is guilty of assault….no physical contact is necessary. This is what is destroying Swedish society right now. Parents are frozen into fear and impotence by the law and children are able to abuse, manipulate and misbehave at will. And by the way, the best statistics show that child abuse in Sweden has increased dramatically since smacking was banned in 1979: read it on our website, www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz, click
Research then “Corporal Punishment of Children”, then scroll down until you find the three links together:

**Sweden – “Where is Evidence That Non-Abusive Corporal Punishment Increases Aggression?”
This paper reviews the evidence on whether the 1979 Swedish law against all corporal punishment has been associated with a reduction in child abuse.

**Sweden – Assaults on Children in Sweden
Assaults on Children  http://people.biola.edu/faculty/paulp/sweden2.html  Dr. Larzelere compares his conclusions and the evidence for them with those of Durrant (1999) regarding the success of Sweden’s ban on spanking. A more recent critique appears in the Autumn 2001 issue of Families First (page 12) pdf.

**Statistics from Sweden – Assaults on Children based on police-record data of physical assaults of children under 7 years of age (Wittrock, 1992, 1995).

and these links will show the unpleasant truth.

Thanks again for your question and the opportunity it gave to answer you.

Kind Regards,

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle


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