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Smacking Ban First Step On Dangerous Road

Smacking Ban First Step On Dangerous Road

Tuesday 7 Oct 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today urged the Government not to use a recent UN report as a stepladder back onto its anti-smacking platform, in light of reports that smacking children may be illegal within two years.

"This report, from an out of touch UN committee, advocates banning smacking - a move that could prove problematic for New Zealand society," Dr Newman said.

"Banning smacking will not solve our child abuse problem. Child abuse is already illegal, but that does not stop the abusers. Banning smacking will simply make law-abiding parents too afraid to discipline their children. The abusers, meanwhile, will continue to ignore the law.

"The reality is that a law banning smacking will be unenforceable. It could result in decent parents being labelled abusers, children threatening parents and neighbours spying on neighbours - with police inundated with calls about smacked bottoms and slapped wrists.

"Smacking is a child-rearing tool that is, more often than not, used as a last resort. If the Ministers championing this move had children of their own, they would understand that children sometimes need to be brought back into line and given boundaries.

"Sadly, the Government is not banning smacking to address child abuse, but is simply following an ideological path. If Labour were truly serious about lowering abuse rates, then it would be examining the factors associated with abuse - such as family breakdown and long-term welfare dependency," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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