Making a difference

This legislation will not make any difference in preventing tragedies like Lillybing and James Whakaruru

Adults who actually kill children may well be a group apart (most likely they are adults who have been exposed to severe violence themselves and are sometimes under the influence of drugs) and that a change in the law will make very little difference to them in the short term.

However there are many children who are chronically maltreated and harshly disciplined who do not die, and may not even come to the notice of the authorities.  For these children, the law change in combination with positive parenting and anti-violence initiatives may lead to more positive childhoods and ensure that they are less at risk of being violent themselves in adulthood.

The constant use of the extreme cases of child abuse as evidence that a law change will be ineffective is a wilful distraction from the likely benefits to the large group of children who are subject to a damaging degree of violence that does not result in death or severe external injuries but whose opportunities in life are compromised by the violence they experience in the name of "discipline".