Myth:The proposed law is confusing

Will parents may be prosecuted for using time out for example?

There has been some reporting of legal interpretations of the Crimes Amendment Bill (as reported back by the Select Committee and drafted by the Law Commission) that has raised fears about what parents can and cannot do under the proposed legislation.  Some, for example, say that parents will be able to hit a child to prevent the child running onto the road, or that use of "time out" will be illegal.  What is significant is that lawyers are not consistent in their opinion on how the bill will be interpreted in those cases that end up in court.

The Bill's intentions seem clear - to reduce violence to children by explicitly banning the use of force for correction purposes and at the same time reassuring parents that they can forcibly control their children in certain circumstance - like grabbing a child who is about to run on the road, for example.  Hitting is never necessary as part of control.

The review being proposed in David Benson-Pope's Supplementary Order Paper will provide an opportunity not only to monitor whether or not parents are being indiscriminately prosecuted but also whether the new law is being interpreted in ways that will still excuse any hitting in cases that go to court.