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Mixed response to Select Committee Report

EPOCH New Zealand, PO Box 11996, Manners Street, Wellington
Phone 027 4437370 email bethwood@xtra.co.nz www.epochnz.org.nz

20 November 2006

Media information

Mixed response to Select Committee Report on section 59 Crimes Act 1961 .

The Justice and Electoral Select Committee today released it report on section 59 Crimes Act 1961. The recommended bill makes it very clear that force cannot be used for the purposes of correction. It provides protection for parents in situations of safety and control, such as preventing a child from running onto the street.

EPOCH New Zealand spokesperson Beth Wood said today “Trustees of EPOCH New Zealand have always believed that full repeal of section 59 Crimes Act (without any amendments) would be the best outcome from the Select Committee process”.

“While we are very pleased that the Select Committee has signalled a clear message that the use of force in correction of a child would be illegal if their recommendation is adopted by Parliament we are disappointed it has felt it necessary to introduce protections for adults that may be open to misinterpretation and use the ambiguous term “force”.

“We appreciate the thoroughly respectful and considered way in which the Committee undertook its hearings. We also appreciate the fact that the majority of the Committee understood the need to change the law to better protect children and unconditionally support positive parenting and family violence prevention messages”.

“I do not believe that if this bill becomes law parents will be prosecuted for minor infringements”.

“If it is necessary that there are protections for parents who restrain or control their children in situations of danger or for performing day to day care I would rather such protections were provided with less ambiguity than seems to be apparent in this bill” says Beth.


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