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Turner to oppose Bradford Bill

Monday, 14 May 2007

Turner to oppose Bradford Bill

United Future MP Judy Turner today announced she will be voting against the third and final reading of Green MP Sue Bradford's anti-smacking Bill when it next comes up for debate in Parliament.

"I do believe that the amendment passed last week to clarify the police discretion to not prosecute when it is not in the public interest to do so, was a definite improvement," says Mrs Turner.

"However, this provision does not apply to Child Youth and Family Services who, like the police, have statutory powers and can remove your children, limit your access, and eventually in the interests of permanency, place them with a new family.

"Some would say that it is pure hysteria to suggest that parents will lose their children into care if they lightly smack their children.

"Well I hope they are right. CYFS certainly don't have to meet the same burden of proof as the police do to make an arrest, so discretion is even harder to determine.

"Currently this agency has no robust complaints service and because this is lacking there is little feedback across the department about the need to change social work procedures.

"They do acknowledge that most complaints are about social work provision, but there is no break-down of this to identify if there are any common themes in these complaints.

"Parents I have dealt with fear making a complaint in case they further jeopardise their case. They feel powerless and understandably emotional, often lacking the skills needed to make calm representation to staff at the local branch office.

"To date, not enough has changed in this department to reassure me that good parents are safe, and for this reason… I am not supporting the third reading of this Bill.

ENDS

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