Friday, May 27, 2005

Kiro and smacking

Children's commissioner Cindi Kiro should really get her facts straight .In commenting on the case of a mother who got acquitted in a Timaru court for caning her child, said "This is often about parents venting their anger … not about teaching children how to behave properly."

Except in this case the juryquite correctly determined that this case was about a person punishing her child, not venting her anger. The real question was whether the force used was reasonable.

And that is the key issue. If the force is reasonable, it is legal, even if parents were venting their anger. Likewise, if they are disciplining their child too harshly, even on the grounds of correction, that harshness will not fulfill Section 59 of the Crimes Act.

So why doesn't Mrs Kiro, a parent who has used physical discipline on her own children, admit that - and also admit that in the above case, the discipline actually worked to the extent that this child changed his behaviour.

I`ll tell you why.

She prefers to compare this case to the physical abuse dished out to children subsequently referred to Child Youth and Family to put forward her flawed point across - that even discipline with reasonable force should be outlawed.

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