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Families Commission On Section 59

Media release
21 February 2007

Families Commission comment re forthcoming third reading of Section 59 amendment bill

The Families Commission is calling on politicians to show their leadership in reducing society’s tolerance to violence by continuing to vote for the current amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes Act.

It is vital that this Bill is not altered in the next stages through Parliament, said the Chief Commissioner of the Families Commission, Rajen Prasad.

“We oppose Chester Borrows’ proposed amendment because it legislates support for parents who hit their children. It does nothing to reduce tolerance for family violence, it does not provide clear guidance for parents or juries, and it attempts to define how much force parents can use when disciplining their children.”

“We would rather see the Bill withdrawn and the status quo remain rather than live with any changes that would further sanction parents hitting their children,” he said.

Research evidence shows that the best and most effective parenting practices do not use physical punishment. There are risks that smacking can escalate to abuse. The harder a child is hit, the more damaging it is for their future wellbeing.

“We urge politicians to clearly signal that hitting children is not acceptable and encourage parents to raise their children without any form of violence,” said Dr Prasad.


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