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Family Integrity Comments on Police Comments

EPOCH NZ said yesterday they are greatly reassured by the Police
Commissioner's latest statement as to how the Police would respond to
parents using even minor physical punishment with their children should
Section 59 ever be repealed. The Police confirmed that even minor
physical punishment would be worthy of an investigation for assault. The
Police Commissioner wrote to Family Integrity last year to say not only
light physical punishment but any form of force by way of correction
would not be authorised by law.

EPOCH said the same in their own newsletter of July 2005: "If section 59
is repealed, parents could be charged with assault if using any force
for the purposes of correction." Please note: a charge of criminal
assault can arise from the use of "any" force, not just "minor physical
punishment".

So EPOCH have confirmed again a parent's nightmare: that any form of
force by parents toward their children for correction, training or
discipline would be a criminal act of assault, not only worthy of a
police investigation with all its attendant stress and trauma on the
children, the marriage and the family, but possibly worth as much as two
years in jail according to Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act.

Time out or carrying an objecting child to bed or making a child eat
something specific or change out of certain clothing or holding a hand
to make the child go with you will all become criminal acts of assault.
This is certain and undeniable, given the definition of assault from
Section 2 of the Crimes Act. And after all, if a stranger could not use
even reasonable force to do any of these to your child, you will not be
allowed to use force to do any of these to your own child either,
precisely as Sue Bradford intends according to her Explanatory Note in
the Bill itself.

EPOCH are greatly reassured because the Police have confirmed they will
not go lightly on parents who would dare to discipline their own
children. Repeal of Section 59 will be disastrous for New Zealand
families.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

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