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The Body Shop gets behind S59 campaign

31 August 2005

The Body Shop gets behind S59 campaign

The Green Party has welcomed news that The Body Shop is calling for New Zealanders to make a submission on MP Sue Bradford's bill to remove a law that allows some child beaters to get off the hook. Ms Bradford's Bill seeks to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which provides people who have been charged with assaulting their children a defence of using "reasonable force".

In recent years this clause has seen people get away with serious beatings on their children, including using weapons such as whips, canes and pieces of wood.

"The Body Shop is well-known for taking a stand on important issues and I am pleased to have their support for my Bill, "Ms Bradford says. Many groups have already voiced their support, but The Body Shop have taken that one step further, by creating discussion and debate amongst their staff, leading to a general consensus that reasonable force cannot be defined.

The Body Shop is implementing a National Training initiative that educates staff on Ms Bradford's bill.

The chain has also been running a national campaign to Help Stop Violence in the Home since July 2004, The Body Shop New Zealand Director Barrie Thomas says.

"Child abuse prevention seems to be the natural progression for our campaign and the repeal of Section 59 will instigate necessary change in our society. For The Body Shop, the repeal of Section 59 isn't about smacking; it is about taking away a defence used by serious child abusers. It is hard to believe that under current law a father can be convicted of child abuse if he abuses the mother in front of the child. Yet in the same case if the father abused the child he could use section 59, reasonable force as his defence.

The company has taken it upon itself to implement a National training initiative educating staff on what the repeal of section 59 means to society. So far over 50 staff have completed the training with individuals changing their perspective completely. The company plans to implement the training throughout all stores in the coming weeks.

"Education is the key. We don't expect our staff to become specialists on this bill, just to have all the facts to make an informed decision," says Mr. Thomas. The Body Shop and Ms Bradford stand united in encouraging those who support the repeal to take this opportunity to post their submissions to the Justice & Electoral select committee at Parliament, Wellington.


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