Friday, February 29, 2008

"Smacking" is not "good parental correction"

So, if it crosses the 10% of registered voters barrier, we in New Zealand will be asked in a citizens initiated referendum:

"Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

The referendum question implies that smacking can be part of "good parental correction", and we wouldn't want to outlaw "good parental correction", now would we? How ironic that this is in the same category as the proverbial leading question, "When did you stop beating your wife?".

How ironic also that the second question asks, "Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in New Zealand?" when the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act resulted from exactly that urgent priority and sought to remove a legal loophole that allowed child bashers to get away with it.

The word "smack" is a euphemism for violence against children. If I "smacked" my neighbour I would be rightly subject to prosecution for assault. If a child "smacked" another child, that child would be called a bully. It is inconsistent for parents who agree with laws against assault and who oppose bullying to think that they have a right to bully and assault their own children.

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