more section 59 submissions
Here's a wrap up of two other organisations that presented submissions to Sue Bradford's bill that attempts to remove reasonable force from Section 59 of the Crimes Act.
Save the Children
Save the Children supports repeal of section 59, with ongoing education. It submits that legislative change leads the way for ongoing parent and public education, support and awareness raising. It states that Section 59 is a breach of a child's rights. Save the Children does not support an amendment to define reasonable force as that would "perpetuate the view that violence is acceptable". It mantains no force is reasonable, and that a section 59 repeal would lead the way in getting rid of child abuse.
The submission states that children think that "physical punishment is a first resort, often used in anger and resulting in a confusing and conflicting message".
Much is made of the education after legislative change in Sweden - yet the submission did not state that the legislative change in Sweden in 1965 did not ban smacking, and legislative change happend well before the ban on smacking in 1979.
Finally, Save the Children submitted that information and guidelines should be developed to alleviate any public concerns about risks of prosecution. Yet it did not state how such guidelines are to be developed that tie in with a bill that effectively makes all physical discipline a criminal offence.
The Commission states that repeal will remove current discrimination against children. It obviously didn't submit that it would heighten CYFS discrimination against children as social workers target smacking parents and remove their kids without investigation. It also stated that there is no excuse in law for assault of wives, husbands or animals. It didn't say that there is no excuse in law for physical discipline of animals, wives or husbands, or excessive physical discipline of anyone.
Unlike Sue Bradford, Barnardos believe that all smacking is physical abuse, and that section 59 allows for harsh physical discipline (ie abuse) . In its submission it states "section 59 actually condones a level of violence in the middle to severe range by having sucessfully been used to defend severe thrashings".
It believes the current law is unnecessary, and supprts full repeal of S59, with a legal amendment that affirms the "desirability of parents not using physical punishment". It gave the committee no assistance as to how it could be done.
It submits that laws surrounding physical discipline should be based on the best interests of the child, and secularism, despite its promotion of the organisation's Christian roots and its rejection of these Christian beliefs. It asks the committe to be wary of people who submit that smacking should be banned based on an argument of divine injuction ( Family Integrity comes to mind, here).
Barnardos claims that history tells us that smacking was not used for discipline, but for retribution and deterrance by public intimidation. It then asks "why do we persist in protecting its use in the home"? Even with the inaccurate point about the history of smacking, if smacking is used for non-disciplinary retribution and deterrance, as opposed to discipline under the circumstances, section 59 doesnt extend to that kind of punishment anyway. Irrelevant point.
Also against attempting to define reasonable force, it submits that the Domestic Violence Act allows for no use of domestic force, and this is inconsistant with S59, which does. What it didn't submit is that the term "violence" in the Domestic Violence Act is defined as "physical abuse", and this was emphasised when the Office of the Commissioner for Children tried - and failed - to have smacking defined as violence for the purposes of the Domestic Violence Bill.
It is important to note that Sue Bradford does not consider all smacking to be physical abuse. Although she does consider smacking to be violence, she refuses to define the word "violence" or discuss the Domestic Violence Act, because that Act defines violence as "physical abuse".