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New s59 research puts paid to myths: Greens

14 November 2008
New s59 research puts paid to myths: Greens

New research released this morning puts paid to some of the myths about lack of public support for the section 59 law change, says the Green Party.

"The UMR Research survey shows that more than 80 percent of adults polled believe that children should be entitled to the same protection from assault as adults," Green Party Children's Issues Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"This gives a vastly different picture to that portrayed by some groups during the recent election campaign. Last year's amendment to the Crimes Act simply removed the defence of 'reasonable force for the purposes of correction' which protected some parents and caregivers from charges of assaulting a child, legal protection not available for assault of an adult or animal.

"It is fantastic that so many people now understand the inherent unfairness of that original law.

"The new study also reveals that 43 percent of those aware of the law change support it and only 28 percent with awareness oppose it.

"Most welcome of all are figures showing the huge extent to which attitudes to the physical punishment of children have changed since 1993.

"In 1993, 87 percent of those polled thought there were times when it is OK to use corporal discipline - this has come down to 58 percent.

"While this shows there is still a long way to go before everyone understands that using violence against children as part of their upbringing is cruel, unfair, ineffective and now illegal, it is nevertheless heartening to see this huge shift in perception.

"The UMR research also confirms that a lot more public education is needed about what the s59 law change actually means.

"One of my biggest regrets as the proponent of the private member's bill on s59 is that the Government did not immediately put resources into a campaign of public information.

"I call on the MPs who make up the new Government, most of whom voted for my bill, to allocate increased funding to organisations which educate parents about the real meaning of the law, and who support families to learn the many non-violent alternatives to physical punishment of our babies and children."


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