INDEPENDENT NEWS

Locke Foundation Praises Save The Children

Published: Mon 3 Oct 2005 08:56 AM
Locke Foundation Praises Save The Children
Today the Locke Foundation praised Terry Dobbs and Save the Children New Zealand for their clear headed smart thinking and wise use of resources in their recent research over the "smacking debate."
In recent research designed from the ground up to show that the use of any force is never appropriate in disciplining children, Terry Dobbs, commissioned by Save the Children New Zealand, asked children aged 5 to 14 whether they thought that the use of force was effective. Her conclusion was that physical discipline of any kind "doesn't work."
Building on this groundbreaking method of research, Glenn Peoples of the Locke Foundation today called on the ministry of justice to adopt the same assumptions and conduct research into the effectiveness of corrections methods. "Ms Dobbs has shown that all we need to do in order to show that a method of dicipline or correction is ineffective is to ask those on the receiving end what they think. Using this brilliant and well thought out approach, this complex and messy debate, involving nasty things like ethical considerations and so forth can be reduced to nice simple questions like, 'Do you want this to happen to you when you commit offences?' or 'Did you like what happened when you broke the rules?' "
Drawing on other aspects of Dobbs' research offers further insights into the debate. For example, she notes that in some cases, children said that their parents "over-reacted" when using any force when administering discipline, and therefore no parent should be allowed to use any force. Peoples said, "employing this same persuasive logic, surely it is obvious that since some police over-react, it follows that no police should be able to use and force, and since some people over-react when using self defense, we whould also remove the rights of citizens to use reasonable force in self defense. After all, research shows that thwarted assailants, when interviewed, say that they didn't like the fact that force was used against them." Dobbs also noted that using any force against children who hurt others sends a contradictory message, since it uses force as a means of telling them not to use force. "This is a key observation," Peoples said. "How often do we hear of people who steal or damage other people's propety having to make reparations? It is clearly a confusing and mixed message to take people's property away from them because they have taken the propety of others. We confine people in prison for kidnapping people and confining them. The contradiction is so obvious that anyone should have seen it long ago." The Locke foundation congratulated Save the Children and Ms Dobbs for this revolution in thought.
Ms Dobbs also noted that some children report being hit in the head with objects, a further consideration lending weight to repealing section 59 of the Crimes Act. Peoples agreed entirely "The fact that there are some parents whose use of force is not reasonable clearly and obviously means that even though such acts are already outside the law (which only permits reasonable force), the right of other parents whose actions are within the law to continue to reasonable force should be taken away anyway. But again, we can't just limit these intelligent principles to family contexts. We need one principle for all. The speed limit needs to be reduced from 100 to 30, to catch all those people who are already doing 180 kilometres per hour. There's really no end to the applications this astounding research has. Save the Children is right on target, but they don't go far enough. These principles and methods of tackling social issues are so obviously wise and prudent that they should be applied across the board. Disturbingly for example, Dobbs' research at one point suggests that some force is actually acceptable, for example confining a child to her room. Doesn't she realise that this is force? You trying confning an adult, and you'll be hauled before the courts. Only when section 59 is repealed will such acts of barbarism be made criminal, and only then are we truly being consistent. No force means NO force!"
ENDS

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