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Vote yes for children, says refuge

National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges Inc.
MEDIA RELEASE – 15 June 2009

vote yes for children, says refuge

Women’s Refuge is encouraging voters to think carefully about their choice in the coming referendum on the child discipline law.

Chief Executive, Heather Henare, says “Voter registration information is being sent out by the Electoral Commission this week and it is important that people take the time to look at the referendum question and think about the kind of future we want for our children.”

Referendum 09 asks the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

Ms Henare says, “This rather misleading question has been framed by opponents of the law who believe that parents should have the right to hit their children.”

She says “It’s going to be a hard question to answer for many New Zealanders. We are changing our views and I believe most of us are now aware that there are much better ways to support, nurture and discipline our children than by hitting them.”

“The law as it stands protects children from assault, just as adults are protected. That makes complete sense to me. In all my years of working with families and children, I have yet to see that violence at any level has a positive part to play in family life.”

“Of course I don’t want to see “good” parents criminalised, but we are not seeing that happening under the existing law. We have seen some cases of serious assault on children, where the parents have been sentenced appropriately. In the past they would have been able to defend their actions as “reasonable force”. Now they can’t get away with that.”

“I want to encourage voters to do the right thing by our children. Stand alongside organisations like Plunket, Barnardos, Women’s Refuge and many others andvote yesto support the existing law.”

“Vote yesfor a violence-free future.”

*The YES Vote coalition is a wide group of organisations supporting parents and the child discipline law. We are working to ensure the retention of the law. The coalition includes Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children, Te Kahui Mana Ririki, Women’s Refuge, Childspace, Parent Centres and others.YesVote.org.nz

Women’s Refuge is New Zealand’s most significant family violence organisation, with a 35 year history of providing comprehensive services for women and children


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