August 21, 2009
The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) will continue to support a law that allows children to grow up free from violence, regardless of the referendum results.
In 1997 NCWNZ passed a resolution by majority that called for the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 so that children could be afforded the same legal protection from assault as adults.
NCWNZ applauds the law changes that followed and urges the government to stand by the decision made in 2007 to protect children from unjust physical punishment.
“There needs to be more education around the current law and more information around the benefits of positive parenting over physical discipline,” says Elizabeth Bang, NCWNZ National President.
Studies have shown that rewards are more effective than punishment in terms of modifying behaviour for the better. The use of physical punishment has also been shown to produce overwhelmingly negative lifelong consequences and condition the individual to view violence as a solution.
“If it’s not an effective discipline solution and has harmful side effects on the individual and society”, says Elizabeth Bang, “why would anyone ever use physical discipline”.
NCWNZ believes the law is working and that the child-rearing practices of many New Zealanders are being positively affected.
“The child discipline law gives our kids the possibility to grow up in a society that over time will become less violent,” says Elizabeth Bang, “that’s a good thing”.