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Strong support for repeal of section 59

Strong support for repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act

Barnardos strongly supports the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act and urges politicians to support the first reading of Sue Bradford’s private member’s bill when it comes before Parliament on Wednesday, 27 July.

“It is a fundamental right of all human beings to be protected in law from violence,” explained Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos. “It is intolerable therefore that children should be the only group in our society to whom the law offers a lesser protection.”

“Physical punishment is not necessary for the discipline of children, any more than it is necessary to the discipline of wives, household servants, apprentices, soldiers, seafarers or criminals,” he continued. “The law has long since been amended to make it clear that physical punishment cannot be used against these groups and it is time for the law to be clear that it should not be used in the punishment of children either.”

“It is not helpful to structure the debate as a contest pitting children’s rights against parents’ rights. Parenting is an immensely rewarding role but at the same time it is very demanding. That’s why it is essential that central government supports organisations such as Barnardos in providing family support and parenting services to the community. And it has been our experience that parents don’t actually want to strike their children, but relish the opportunity to learn alternative parenting techniques based upon the principles of positive parenting,” he said.

Murray Edridge explained that it was Barnardos view that with an election just called now was not the right time for a full debate of the issues and he urged politicians to refer the Bill to a select committee to provide opportunity for submissions from the community before deliberating on the bill when the new Parliament sits.


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