Family Integrity #437 — Parents scared

1 November 2008 – Family Integrity #437 — Parents scared


Interesting article showing that parents are frightened by this legislation. We were scared to the point of getting passports readied and going through the first stages of emigrating out of here…I had a job lined up overseas, several properties that looked good at the time (boom conditions here, bust over there).  Article also shows people don’t understand the legislation. So what’s new? The police don’t understand it, the MPs don’t either…nobody does because it is a dog’s breakfast of self-contradictory mish-mash.

The comment by the lawyer that There were still four potential defenses to hitting a child, which “a half-decent lawyer” would use effectively” is very, very interesting….it shows that the “reasonable force” was not the great evil Bradford said it was in the old Section 59, because she not only kept the “reasonable force” the new Section 59, her law also gives four new defenses for using “reasonable force”!!! That is, this new Section 59 is 4 times easier to defend “child abuse” than the old one, if in fact the old one ever did, which it did not.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle

Fewer parents smacking

By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Saturday, 01 November 2008

“Anti-smacking” legislation is making parents reluctant to strike their children, the first results of a major study into child discipline show.

The research, carried out between December 2006 and July this year, also found that 70 per cent of parents who are against the legislation do not understand it, prompting calls for a public education campaign.

“I used to smack them on the hand but it scared the crap out of me when that bill came in,” one parent told researchers during in-depth interviews of 117 parents.

First results of the Otago University Children’s Issues Centre project on child discipline, released exclusively to The Press, show smacking rates eighth out of 11 methods, below time-out, distraction, and hugs and smiles, as an effective form of discipline.

“Very few parents indeed were satisfied that physical punishment was an effective way of controlling children and were able to explain why they felt bad about using it,” a forthcoming article on the study, by Anne Smith and Julie Lawrence, says.

While 41% of parents said they smacked, only 9% thought it effective, and 34% said it was ineffective; the rest picking other methods.

“This study indicates that families in New Zealand may be moving towards more positive disciplinary methods, in contrast with previous research (in 1995 and 2002),” the article says.

“There are some indications that the message that physical punishment is not a good idea is getting out to parents. The necessity for a mind-set change, which many advocates of change have been urging, is perhaps beginning to happen.”

Kiwi Party co-leader Larry Baldock, who organised a petition against the law change, said parental views on smacking may have changed because of the fear of being prosecuted.

In June 2007, section 59 of the Crimes Act was rewritten to remove the defence of parental correction for hitting a child.

Lawrence and Smith found that of parents who supported the law change, 58% understood it. Of those against, 30% understood.

“The lack of an education campaign to explain the law is strongly reflected in these statistics,” the article says.

Overall, 60% of parents were unclear about the implications of the law change.

There was “a massive need for more information and education” about the law change.

“There seems to have been timidity and avoidance of objective information about (the Act), perhaps because government bodies are nervous of the reaction from extremely well-funded and powerful religious Right groups to any public information,” the article says.

Green Party MP Sue Bradford, who introduced the law change, said understanding of the law was poor.

“I regret deeply that there wasn’t enough Government buy-in to put in the public information and education to go alongside it,” she said.

“Some parents are, gradually, saying actually it is better to bring up my kids without hitting them.”

Canterbury University Associate Professor of Law John Caldwell said almost no-one understood the new law.

“I don’t think any general members of the public would have any idea at all what the present Section 59 says. I’m quite sure they don’t,” he said.

There were still four potential defences to hitting a child, which “a half-decent lawyer” would use effectively.

Baldock said it was “crap” that people did not understand the law. “The people who don’t understand the law are the people who are in favour of it,” he said.


One response to “Family Integrity #437 — Parents scared”

  1. It is Sue Bradford who never understood the law in the first place. At a debate with Stephen Franks (incredibly sharp legal brain) in Dunedin where philosophers Matthew Flannagan and Glenn Peoples were present, despite the devastating clarity presented to Sue Bradford by these three she just blithely went around in circles.

    Prior to witnessing this I actually thought she knew what the law was and had a devious agenda. I now firmly believe that she actually thought that s59 permitted child abuse, she utterly is not capable of making distinctions. I think her IQ is lacking.

    (She also clearly has an anti-smacking agenda and that was at play)

    The problem with the lack of understanding over the new law is that it is drafted in contradictions and waffle that is so poor it cannot even be called “legalese”. I am completing my Bachelor of Law at Auckalnd University right now and I have to say that although the lecturers for the most part try to take non-partisan stances, it is clear that my opinion that this Labour government’s legal drafting team could be replaced by first year law students who would do a better job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *