May 20, 2009
The guilty verdict in the Christchurch case of a father who punched his child in the face is clearly the right outcome.
“This incident was trivialised as a case of ‘ear flicking’ to discredit the 2007 changes to Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961, which provided parents a defence for physical punishment,” says Deborah Morris-Travers, spokesperson for The Yes Vote coalition of child and family focussed organisations who support the Child Discipline Law (Section 59) reforms and are encouraging the public to show support for the law in the forthcoming referendum.
“Now that all the evidence has been heard in a court, this case can be seen for what it is – a serious assault on a child and not the “poster-boy” cause for opponents of the law that was widely portrayed. Arguably, this case never had anything to do with Section 59, given it involved a simple assault.
“However, the Christchurch case demonstrates why it remains so important that New Zealand law clearly opposes violent parenting practices as not only unnecessary and ultimately ineffective, but also damaging for children and family relationships.”