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Every Child Counts supports Section 59 repeal

13 June 2005
Media statement
For Immediate Use

Every Child Counts supports call for Section 59 repeal

Repeal of section 59 would ensure consistent messages about the unacceptability of violence against children and remove the legal defence in situations of serious assaults against a children, says Every Child Counts.

Every Child Counts spokesperson, Dr Emma Davies said, "With international research showing physical punishment increases the risks for children and is not an effective way to discipline them, the case for repealing section 59 is very strong.

"It is time for New Zealand to acknowledge that children should have the same protection as adults and pets. It's nonsense for the law to provide a defence in situations of assault against children but not in situations of assault against animals.

"Repealing this outdated law will not criminalise parents but merely ensure clarity in situations where charges are brought against parents who seriously assault a child. We are not talking about a new criminal code that bans smacking or criminalises parents. It is a simple move to ensure greater protection for children when serious assault occurs.

"Given the appalling child abuse statistics New Zealand is grappling with, we must address the culture of violence that underpins them. This includes a change in attitude about appropriate and effective ways to discipline children.

"The Government has to start sending consistent messages about the unacceptability of violence against children and repealing section 59 is a necessary step along the way," concluded Dr Davies.

Every Child Counts is a coalition including Barnardos, Plunket, Save the Children, Unicef NZ and AUT's Institute of Public Policy, supported by more than 250 other organisations and thousands of individual supporters.

The public are invited to demonstrate their support for the nation's children by adding

their names to the Every Child Counts campaign at: http://www.everychildcounts.org.nz/

ends


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