INDEPENDENT NEWS

National Calls For Change To Child Punishment Law

Published: Mon 10 Sep 2001 12:30 AM
National has today moved to make clear the right of a parent to discipline a child, but it is determined that the violent abuse of children will stop.
"We are determined that children must no longer bear the physical brunt of a loose interpretation of the law surrounding child punishment in this country, Social Services spokesperson, Bob Simcock said.
"Section 59 of the Crimes Act allows parents and caregivers the privileged right to use reasonable force to discipline their children, but the understanding of what is 'reasonable force' is too unclear.
"I am lodging a Members Bill calling for an amendment to Section 59. My bill spells out clearly the definition of 'reasonable force' so parents and caregivers are unable to hide behind a lax interpretation of the law in the event of a case going before the courts.
"National believes that a parent should be entitled to discipline a child, but we are determined to put a stop to family violence. Evidence shows that New Zealand children are subjected to more violence than children in many other comparable countries.
"We are committed to reducing violence towards children. This bill will ensure that the rights of parents to discipline their children remain, but it will outlaw discipline that causes injury to a child. It will also ensure that good parents remain completely certain of their rights.
"There has to be leadership on this issue if we are to quell violence towards children in New Zealand. My bill will make it clear to the courts and to parents and caregivers that the use of force which causes physical harm should never be considered 'reasonable", Mr Simcock said.
Ends

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