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Bill To Reduce Violence Towards Children

MP And Doctor Work Together On Bill To Reduce Violence Towards Children

New Zealand First MP, Brian Donnelly, has worked with a GP from his local area of Whangarei to redraft a Bill aimed at reducing violence towards children.

Following the tragedy of Lillybing, Brian Donnelly introduced a Bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act, the part of the law which allows adults to use force against children.

“The problem that my Bill faced was that technically it also disallowed adults from giving a child a tap on the hand,” says Mr Donnelly, “and therefore was at great risk of failing at the first reading”.

Meanwhile Dr Reti carried out research which showed that almost unanimously New Zealanders would support legislation which prevented adults from using force on a child’s head or using an object to hit a child.

“When I read Dr Reti’s research and knowing the obstacles to gaining full repeal of Section 59 at this point in time, I determined to withdraw my Bill and redraft it”, said Mr Donnelly.

“I have taken advice from Dr Reti in the wording of the Crimes (Use of Force) Amendment Bill which I have now submitted to the ballot,” said Brian Donnelly.

“The key objective is to reduce serious physical abuse of children and I cannot wait for complete repeal of Section 59, if waiting means we have further tragedies on our hands”, said Brian Donnelly.

Dr Reti commends Mr Donnelly for submitting a realistic and responsible bill.

“This is a very achievable bill that will resonate in the heart of every parent, every caregiver, and anyone who believes children matter”, said Dr Reti.

“Several months ago, the NZMA (New Zealand Medical Association) gave its direct support for the substance of this bill, and more recently, the RNZCGP (Royal NZ College of General Practitioners), and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand have lent their voices to general calls for repeal of Section 59”.

“It is my view that the majority of New Zealanders already support this sensible middle ground. Now we must grasp this support, make it legislation, and then take another step…, and another…., until we give children the complete dignity and freedom from harm they deserve”, said Dr Reti.

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