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Law should stay as it is, Children’s Commissioner

Media Release

Embargoed until 8pm 21 August 2009

Law should stay as it is, Children’s Commissioner says

The law protecting children should stay as it is, Children’s Commissioner Dr John Angus said today.
“I respect that New Zealanders have participated strongly in the referendum and it indicates to me that we are thinking hard about how we bring up our children,” Dr Angus said.
“My advice to Government will continue to be that the current law is good for children.
“Parenting is about a relationship. Hitting, smacking and slapping children are forms of punishment that get in the way of the sort of relationship that works. They are not an effective way to set boundaries for children and teach them right from wrong. Most parents know this instinctively.
“There is a wealth of evidence from experts on child health and welfare that smacking, hitting and slapping are not effective and in some instances, can be harmful.
“In addition to that I have listened to the voices of children and young people. They say smacking is ineffective, harmful to them and hard to understand.
“I have looked at the Police statistics and fears that the new law would mean Police would investigate lots of families and lots of parents would be prosecuted, have proved unfounded.
“At its heart this law gives children, like the rest of us, protection by law from assault.
“The change to the law in 2007 was an important step towards keeping children in New Zealand safe and secure.”

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