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YES to respecting our children’s right to be safe

YES to respecting our children’s right to be safe from harm.

do you really need to ask?

28 July 2009, AUCKLAND: From 31 July, New Zealanders will vote on the following referendum question: Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offense in New Zealand?

shine* supports a YES VOTE on this referendum as this is the best way to retain the Crimes Amendment Act 2007 - an important law that is working well.

Jill Proudfoot, shine* Client Services Director, says “It's not so long since men were entitled by law to hit their wives, their children, and their dogs. Laws were passed to prohibit all of this violence, except violence against children, which was finally outlawed in 2007. A YES VOTE on this referendum will ensure that children continue to have the same right to be safe from violence as animals and adults.”

It is widely known that New Zealand has very high rates of family violence and child abuse – two social problems which are inextricably linked. The law before 2007 allowed some parents to get away with serious acts of violence against children. With the passage of the 2007 Act, parents no longer have a defense for being violent towards their children.

The current law is working well. Police continue to exercise discretion and pursue cases that usually involve serious levels of violence within families where there are prior convictions for violence.

Jill Proudfoot says, “It is time to stop minimizing and denying the seriousness of violence towards children in our society. Words like ‘smacking’ sound very different from words like ‘hitting’, ‘beating’, and ‘assaulting’, but what in fact is the difference? Calling a ‘hit’ a ‘smack’ may make the parent feel better, but it doesn't help the child at all.”

VOTE YES on the upcoming referendum. Keep our children safe.


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