Thursday, April 05, 2007

7 More Good Reasons Why We Oppose Anti-Smacking Bill

Family First - Media Release - 21 February 2007

1. No decent research shows smack by a loving parent breeds violence

Otago University study 2006 – children who were smacked in a reasonable way had similar or slightly better outcomes in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement than those who were not smacked at all. Fergusson and Lynskey (Christchurch School of Medicine) – found no difference between no smacking and moderate physical punishment “It is misleading to imply that occasional or mild physical punishment has long term adverse consequences”

2. UNICEF reports prove there is no link between smacking and child abuse

2003 UNICEF report on maltreatment deaths. Of the five countries with the lowest child abuse death rates in the UNICEF report, four allow smacking! Austria banned smacking in 1989 – is the 5th highest for child abuse death rates 2007 Report released last week : “the likelihood of a child being injured or killed is associated with poverty, single-parenthood, low maternal education, low maternal age at birth, poor housing, weak family ties, and parental drug or alcohol abuse.”

The safest country for children is Netherlands – hasn’t banned smacking

Of the 10 top countries, 6 haven’t banned smacking. The 2006 CYF report “Children at Increased Risk of Death from Maltreatment and Strategies for Prevention” identified the factors which signaled greater risk for children including poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and family breakdown. Statistics also showed that children living in households with an adult unrelated to them were almost 50 times as likely to die of an inflicted injury as those living with two biological parents! Example: Just one of the real causes - Substance Abuse

UNICEF report 2003 - Child welfare professionals – 80% said “substance abuse causes or contributes to at least half of all cases of child maltreatment” 85% of States in US report substance abuse and poverty leading problems in families reported for abuse Substance abuse triples risk for child maltreatment

3. Sweden experience is a warning to us

Child abuse increased 489% in 13 years following ban - Assaults by kids against kids increased 672% 2000 Swedish Govt report – “we see no tendency to a decrease in bullying at school or in leisure time during the last 20

years”. Sweden’s Foster Care rate is double NZ’s – twice as many kids being removed from their families

European Crime and Safety Safety – UN, Euro Commission – published this month - Sweden has one of the worst assault and sexual violence rates in EU


Around one child a month dies at the hands of a parent or caregiver in New Zealand. In Sweden, the average annual deaths attributable to child abuse for the past 30 years or so has been less than one every four years. - Document circulated on behalf of Barnadoes, Plunket, Save the Children, Children’s Commissioner and EPOCH last year

The rate of child homicide & in Sweden is something like one every 4 years” - Sue Bradford on TVNZ’s Close Up 19 July 2006

Dr Kiro says people need to realise since Sweden banned physical punishment in 1976, only four children died in the following 20 years” Children’s Commissioner speaks out against culture of violence – Press Release - Dr Cindy Kiro – 03/11/2004 The Truth

Morgan Johansson, Swedish public health minister, said (2006) "Every year, eight to ten, sometimes as many as twelve children die in Sweden due to violence. This has been true for several years,"

4. Polls

Averaged out, polls show that 80% of us want to keep the status quo. Politicians need to listen to the people.

5. Police won’t prosecute

Domestic Violence Policy currently being enforced by Police strongly encourages arrest at the time and denies Police Diversion except where authorised by the District Commander. Diversions are rarely given for domestic violence matters. The Police Association admitted today (21 Feb) that they will have to investigate any complaint.

As noted by Cabinet, anyone may bring a prosecution for breach of criminal law e.g. lobby group could bring private prosecution against smack or removal to ‘time out’ – not determined by Police

6. Are the Greens serious about stopping child abuse?

2003: P (Methamphetamine) reclassified as a Class A drug – only the Greens opposed

2006: Opposed an increase to the Drinking Age

2005: Intentional Possession of Child Pornography (the worst of child abuse) –Only the Greens opposed the maximum penalty being 5 years – wanted it lower at 2 years

2007: Want to decriminalise Marijuana


7. Smacking isn’t violence – it’s correction

Children are already protected from violence and assault through the Crimes Act. Smacking is in harmony with nature – pain teaches e.g a child teases a dog, they get a dog bite – a child touches the hot element, they get burnt – they take their hands off the handles of the bike – they crash! Does this teach a child to be a violent person? NO! A Reasonable smack from loving parent is great teaching tool

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