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Section 59 protects abusers not children - Greens

31 May 2005

Section 59 protects abusers not children - Greens

How many more children need to be bruised, beaten and suffer broken bones before the Government realises it is time to repeal the archaic section in the Crimes Act that allows it to happen, asks Green Party Children's Issues Spokesperson, Sue Bradford.

Last week in Timaru yet another parent escaped prosecution for beating their child because it was considered to be reasonable force as allowed under Section 59 of the Act. The woman faced two charges relating to two separate incidents where she whacked her 12-year-old son - once giving him 'six of the best' with a cane and another for hitting him with a riding crop. Ms Bradford questioned Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker in the House today about why no action had been taken over repealing this section of the Act.

"Mr Barker seemed to believe there was no problem, and any problem there might or might not be would be solved by the Government's $11 million SKIP parenting programme," said Ms Bradford.

"That's just a cop out. SKIP is not going to stem this problem if it is not backed up by legislative change.

"In the past few years the Government has introduced laws to protect adults and animals from violence - but remain unwilling to repeal section 59 so that the most vulnerable members of our community are kept safe.

"The Timaru case is just the latest in a huge list of examples of why Section 59 does little but protect child abusers from the punishment they deserve," said Ms Bradford.


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