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Good Parents Will Become Criminals

Good Parents Will Become Criminals

Thousands of ordinary New Zealanders will become criminals because of the new anti smacking legislation, according to child advocate Christine Rankin.

The chief executive of the For the Sake of our Children Trust has joined a growing chorus of voices objecting to the bill which goes in front of parliament tomorrow.

“It has been called the wackiest bill of the year and indeed, I agree it is,” says Ms Rankin.

“It means that good parents, who are doing their utmost to raise their children with love and care, are at risk of running foul of the law. It’s crazy to think these people could be labeled criminals.

”Loving parents should not be penalised.”

Ms Rankin says normal discipline does not breed violence but teaches children right from wrong. In fact, an Otago University study shows that children who were smacked in a reasonable way had similar or slightly better outcomes in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement than those who were not smacked at all.

The 2003 UNICEF report on maltreatment deaths shows of the five countries with the lowest child abuse death rates, four allow smacking.

And in Sweden, where smacking was banned 13 years ago, child abuse has increased by an incredible 489%.

Family First and Sensible Sentencing are among other organisations to challenge the legislation.

“All of us are more than aware that child abuse is a terrible problem in New Zealand,” says Ms Rankin, “but to compare abuse with discipline is insulting.

“The government urgently needs to be looking at the factors which put children at risk – poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence and the breakdown of the family unit.

“Instead they seem more concerned at inflicting punishment on decent people who want only the best for their children.”


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