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Report Highlights Smacking Provision Repeal Need

Report highlights need to repeal 'smacking provision'

The Government must immediately repeal the Crimes Act section that lets parents physically punish their children, following a report showing child abuse is increasing, Green MP Sue Bradford said today.

The Social Development Ministry's third annual 'Social Report' highlights growing levels of abuse and violence against children and young people, identifying these as major social problems in New Zealand.

Ms Bradford said the Government should immediately repeal the so-called 'smacking section' of the Crimes Act, Section 59, which allows children to be physically hit and punished.

"There is nothing stopping the Government repealing this provision now, apart from a lack of will. The Government absolutely has to act now in light of this report, which shows how badly abused our children are," the Green Social Issues spokesperson said.

Ms Bradford said the report also clearly showed that children and young people are missing out in all sorts of other areas, highlighting the need to shift more resources to them.

"Inequities in parental income, and housing, impact strongly on children and young people so we need to urgently consider introducing a universal child benefit.

"Also we need to address the continuing disproportionately high levels of unemployment in people aged between 15 and 25. More deliberate job creation and support has to be introduced for this age group."

Ms Bradford said that while she congratulated the Government for conducting this research, it would be meaningless if nothing were done to address the problems.

"The report is a call to action. We need to invest in our children now."


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