Friday, June 09, 2006

Bradford and Kiro disagree on smacking

Green MP Sue Bradford and Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro are in sharp disagreement over Bradfords bill which aims to remove reasonable force as a defence for child discipline from the Crimes Act. Such is the disagreement that Kiro refuses to comment on it and Bradford refuses to clarify her position.

It revolves around the term "violence".

Both consider physical discipline and child abuse as domestic violence. Both want to get rid of child abuse, but both do not consider physical discipline as abuse. Bradford differs in that she considers some forms of physical discipline should not be a criminal offence. Kiro certainly considers all physical discipline is abusive and often points to the Domestic Violence Act 1995.

Violence means "physical abuse" in the Domestic Violence Act, and that can be seen to refer to domestic physical discipline of children. The problem for Kiro is that the intention of Parliament when the Domestic Violence Act was passed in 1995 was that the term "violence" did not extend to light physical discipline. The Office of the Childrens Commissioner tried- and failed - to amend the Act so that physical discipline could legally be described as violence to set the Office up for a bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act.

Case law has subsequently backed up Parliaments intent. If Section 59 goes, all physical discipline will be classed as violence, ie: physical abuse as it will alter the intent of parliament with regards to the Domestic Violence Act.

This is currently creating difficulties for Bradford as she doesn't think all physical discipline is abuse.

Currently, as all physical discipline is not legally abuse, it therefore cannot legally be classed as violence. Consequently, when Kiro says she wants to get rid of violence, she conflates that term with physical abuse, but fails to say why she refuses to define what she means by violence.

When I rang Kiro to discuss this with her she rudely stated she wasn't going to comment, and hung up in my ear.



ZenTiger said...

I have noticed various statements by Dr Kiro equating physical discipline (therefore, even a light controlled smack), with violence and abuse. Very dangerous and annoying.

I've also noticed as they mis-use (and mis-represent) court cases like the riding crop case with a summary statement like "mother gets let off for violence" when that is not the case at all.

I'd say any court that finds some-one NOT GUILTY and then CYFS takes their child from them ANYWAY and it takes a year, and another court case to have the child returned, a very obvious case where the mother did not get off at all. Indeed, what has happened is arguably equivalent to psychological torture on the child and the parents.

The point about the law getting it wrong, and having the power to take a child from parents with (if s59 comes in) with NO physical evidence, is a point that people like myself often make, but reporters have TOTALLY failed to pick up on that point, or even mention it as balance in an article.

We all know repeal of s59 will not stop child abuse. What we don't know is how many cases, or increase in cases, of children being wrongfully removed from parents there will be post this law. We have good reason to suspect it will increase. The articles to date have not managed to even mention it, or highlight cases like the riding crop case, where innocent or guilty, the parents and child STILL LOST.

Anonymous said...

does Cindy Kiro have any children?

If so, have they got any children?

I can't consider any system of child-rearing successful until it has gone through at least 3 generations.

Dave said...

Yes Kiro does have children, so does her mum. So her whanau has gone through three generations

Anonymous said...

was Cindy smacked by her mum?

If not, then sure, but otherwise they are still down to 1.5 generations, presuming that Cindy never smacked her kids, and that they don't have kids yet.

Anonymous said...

Kiro is unfit for her position as Children's Commissioner. She has absolutely no common sense.