Myth:The defence provided in section 59 is rarely used successfully

The claim that the defence has only been used six or seven times in 16 years is misleading - we do not in fact know how many times it has been used successfully or unsuccessfully because District Court cases are not reported centrally and only reach widespread attention if reported in the media.

In addition the section 59 defence has sometimes discouraged the authorities from making prosecutions in cases where the severity of the assault is such that prosecution was warranted.

Section 59 as it presently stands impacts on other legislation.  For example, we have an anomaly under the Domestic Violence Act 1995 where a child can be given a protection order if he or she witnesses a parent being assaulted, but not necessarily if they are smacked or hit