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Stopping the cycle of violence against children

31 July 2007

Stopping the cycle of violence against children

Each of us need to take responsibility and action to stop violence against children wherever and whenever we see it happening, including within our own families, Green Party MP Sue Bradford says.

"The success of my recent bill to amend s59 of the Crimes Act took just one step towards this goal, by removing the 'reasonable force' defence which legitimized violence against children for the purposes of correction. As a result, our legal system no longer mandates child beating," Ms Bradford says.

"However, all of us involved in the campaign around s59 knew full well that this was only one part of what needs to change. Rather than devote energy into blaming and scapegoating others, we need to work towards :

* Increasing funding to tangata whenua and community sector groups which support families in trouble, and which educate parents about alternatives to violence, including the SKIP programme

* Revitalising the Cross Party Working Group on Family Violence with the goal of genuinely working for policies that all, or most, political parties can buy into

* More parenting education in schools from a young age, so children grow up having a much better appreciation of the realities of becoming a parent

* A serious commitment by Government to do a lot more to end child and adult poverty, and substandard housing

* Continuing to improve the capacity of Government agencies to work with families in a genuinely developmental way - rather than perpetuating patronising and dismissive approaches which can harm and alienate the very people who most need support to change

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* Reconsideration of the 'Work First' ethic of current welfare and Working for Families policies which implies that it is better for everyone, even the mothers of young children, to be in the paid work than at home caring for their children.

"It is also ironic that Bob McCroskie of Family First is mounting a campaign to reintroduce corporal punishment in schools at this time.

"Mr McCroskie still does not seem to understand that violence breeds violence. Such a measure, if successful, would only emphasise the message that it's good to beat kids - which creates the effects we see all around us today.


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