So, the anti-smacking bill. Its going to turn us all into criminals for smacking our children. Yep. The media tells us there will be a new law. Yes sir, a law that will ban smacking forever and make it illegal! Thousands of parents could be prosecuted. Courts will be tied up with frivolous smacking cases and the children will run riot. Or so the media has been telling us.
If we actually dig deeper this is only a repeal of a law, section 59 of the criminal act.
"Every parent or person in place of a parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards a child if that force is reasonable in the circumstances."
This has be applied in court inconsistently for years
The word "reasonable" is what is being changed here. "Reasonable" means that a man was acquitted for whipping a twelve year old girl with a section of hose pipe. The whipping had left 15cm long raised welts all over her back. Its the kind of "punishment" that might make us gasp if we were watching it in a movie.
"Reasonable" means a jury let a man off for hitting his 8 year old son with a chunk of wood across the back of the legs, leaving massive bruising.
There is no "new" law banning smacking.
This law affords children the same protection as adults. If I am whipped across the back with a hose till I bleed by my boss, they cannot claim they were using reasonable force as a defense. So why should an adult be allowed to use this as defense for whipping a child?
The United Nations has recommend that this section of the crimes act be repealed so that we can meet our international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. 10 European countries have already done so.
I am sick of one news and three news putting a ridiculous spin on this issue and dissapointed in a nation that believes everything they see on TV.
Action alert: Support repealing section 59
Interest in S59 welcome but fears are unwarranted
Chester Borrows (National MP) proposed amendment