Sunday, October 28, 2007

Normal Kiwi family traumatised: CYFS acts on new Section59

Dave at has managed to get a copy of the letter that the Wellington mother sent to Family First regarding CYFS and Police acting on the new Section59 and traumatising her family. She said her family has been left traumatised by new anti-smacking laws, after her son's school reported her to Child, Youth and Family for smacking him on the hand. So she reported it to the Family First lobby who told the media. Below are a few highly important excerpts. Do make sure that you visit to read the whole letter, as it is merely a taste of what is to come.


[first incident]
"...The Care and Protection officer informed me that they had received a complaint from the school, and that under new policy they were obligated to follow it up. My child (hereinafter also referred to as X) had shown aggressive behavior towards another student. When questioned by the teacher as to why, X answered that they had been smacked that morning. The Care and Protection officer also explained that under new policy, teachers were required to report all smacking incidences directly to Child Youth and Family Services and that this was now just standard procedure.

...Later when my husband and I questioned our child, X explained that they had thrown a ball and that it bounced and accidentally hit a class mate. X had woken up in a bad mood that particular day and was very reluctant and unhelpful at getting ready for school. I told X to hurry up – X was refusing and throwing a wobbly, so I ended up smacking X on the hand. I also gave X a bit of a push into the room to get my child moving (done in the heat of the moment). X responded by more yelling and giving me an evil look. It wasn't a good morning. (This sort of thing doesn't happen very often, but it does happen.)

I usually never let my children go to school angry with me, but that morning we were in a hurry.The teacher seemed to ask questions about X's behaviour and why X was behaving like this. The teacher seemed to ask leading questions like, how was it at home etc. X never told her what the issue was - only that they had been smacked that morning. Apparently the teacher said to X, I will see to that and then asked if there were any marks. X said no...."

[second incident]
"...Within 20mins, there were three police officers at my door and they asked me to step outside. (had arrived with lights flashing). They had received a complaint from a neighbour about an incident concerning one of my children. They then asked to question X and at the same time questioned me separately about what had happened.

It dawned on me as I was relaying the events that I might be arrested, and asked the officer if that was indeed the case. She said possibly, but needed to speak with the other officer before she could tell me.

After questioning X, and getting the details of my guest, to my relief, they decided not to arrest me this time. The officer kindly informed me that since this bill that Sue Bradford had pushed through, that the police have to respond to all complaints concerning families with children. This was new policy and they have to cross their T's and dot their I's.

I wanted to get a good understanding of what she was saying, so I asked the officer, if this was the second visit here and the events were the same, except this time I didn't smack the backside but simply pulled the child off the tramp, would I still be arrested? She replied yes, because I still used physical force and that under the new law no parent is allowed to use any physical force, unless you are protecting your child. The police officers were very kind, but warned me of a possible arrest if this sort of thing happened again. And they left...

...An assault charge is no small matter. I have been involved in children's work for the last ten years, not to mention all the community work I have done with under privileged children over the years. (the real victims of child abuse.)...

...We as parents need to be encouraged and supported by the government, not undermined and stripped of all authority."

update: Check out ZenTiger's post over at regarding this story.

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