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Calling Parents Voices Against Violence

5 November 2001

A 55 year old man beats a twelve year old girl with a hose pipe. He is charged with assault but let off because he is the girl’s father. He claims that this is a victory for the rights of parents.

I, and most parents I know disagree. We are appalled and see this as another case of parental bullying. We regard it as a defeat for human decency. What about the rights of a twelve year old girl, or her fifteen year old sister to be safe? The law is meant to protect the weak against the abuse of the strong. Why did it fail to do so?

Stopping Violence Services works with many men who are violent. ‘Many of them have learnt from their parents that violence, and the threats of violence are effective ways of getting what you want – even if your family are afraid of you and may despise you.’ Said Paul Prestidge, the Executive Officer.

As parents and as a community that wants to bring up our next generation with love and with appropriate boundaries and behaviour, we need to make our voice heard. We know that children can grow to be responsible adults without being beaten. We know that being a parent can be extremely frustrating, and we know that we have to keep our own self-control. We know that how we act will teach our children much more than anything we say.

What do we do?

Write to your MPs and the Minister of Justice demanding that Section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed.
Support other parents in your wider family when they are under stress. Encourage others and let them know of other ways to deal with difficult parenting situations

The YWCA led Voices Against Violence campaign starts today. Stopping Violence Services supports this campaign, and calls on loving and non-violent parents to add their voices and support to this campaign.

ENDS

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