June 4, 2009
The report released by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner today on New Zealand’s horrific levels of child abuse reiterates just why it is so important that our law draws a line in the sand on physical punishment,” says Deborah Morris-Travers, spokesperson for the Yes Vote coalition.
“The report says that one child is admitted to hospital every week as a result of intentional assault and builds on previous work illustrating the need to change attitudes about violence against children.
“The vulnerability of infants and small children in homes where family violence is prevalent, parents are unsupported, there is poverty, and dysfunction, demonstrates the need for political and community action that addresses child abuse and maltreatment on a number of levels, including in law.
“While some claim these results represent an argument against having a law that removes a parental right to physically punish their children, the Yes Vote coalition sees the law as one key part of a vital social change for positive, non-violent parenting that is occurring in NZ.
“We find it baffling that opponents of the current child discipline law so strongly oppose child abuse while simultaneously working so hard for the right to be allowed to physically punish their own children. This contradiction draws little media attention, providing evidence of society’s tolerance of violence against children,” concluded Ms Morris-Travers.