Catholic Church gives only qualified support to so-called anti-smacking bill
Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill 2006
Caritas, the Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development, supported an amendment of the Bill, as they supported
neither the status quo which had not adequately protected children, nor full repeal of the Bill, which did not define
the threshold for prosecution by the police of parents using physical punishment.
While recognising that there are better means of discipline than physical punishment, Caritas does not believe that
parents should be prosecuted for minor or intermittent acts of physical punishment of children, and that if that is the
government’s intention, that the law should say so.
However, Caritas similarly recognise that the status quo, which has allowed juries to acquit parents who have used
implements against their children, has allowed parents to abuse their children in the name of discipline, and they
To read full submission made last year to the Justice and Electoral Committee see