Survey claims parents confused about law

A survey commissioned and publicised by Family First claims that New Zealanders are confused about the child disicpline law. Yet it found that 55% were quite clear that it is illegal to hit a child.   This is a positive news once again telling us that many people know that use of physical discipline is never ok.

The wording of the law, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Act 2007, indicates that force can be used in some circumstances. EPOCH New Zealand believes that this refers to restraining a child  to keep that  child or other children safe. The law states clearly that force can never be used for the correction of  a child and a significant proportion of the public knows this.

There has been very limited publicity about the law.  This publicity gap is being addressed through the distribution of thousands of information pamphlets published by a group of NGOs.

A provision in the law reminding police that they have discretion not to prosecute in cases of minor assaults on children does not make use of force for correction legal but it does mean that parents who occasionally smack lightly need not be prosecuted.  Prosecution in such cases would not be in a child and family's best interests because of the stress it would case.

Family First is grasping at every possible opportunity to undermine confidence in the law and once again make assaults on children legal.  In EPOCH New Zealand's view this would be a retrograde step and one out of touch with positive parenting principles and a breach of children's rights.

Link to The Herald Article

Parenting Pamphlet