Posts Tagged deborah morris-travers

Yes Vote launches campaign for August referendum

May 27, 2009

The Yes Vote Coalition launched a campaign for the August referendum with a media kit to provide background on the issues for journalists.

Having a law that makes hitting kids illegal makes sense in every way. That’s why people who support non-violent child-rearing should consider voting YES in the postal referendum on the issue in August.

The referendum question is misleading: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”  This question links smacking with good parenting practice, which it is not.

“This unnecessary $10 million referendum is an attempt to overturn a recently enacted law that gives children the same legal protection from assault as adults,” said Deborah Morris-Travers, spokesperson for the Yes Vote Coalition.

“We are supporting a Yes Vote because that is the only option to send a clear signal to Parliament that smacking and hitting children is wrong.”

“Two years on, the new law is working well.  Police reports show that parents are not being criminalised unnecessarily. Organisations belonging to the Yes Vote Coalition report a noticeable increase in interest from parents seeking alternatives to physical punishment, including smacking”.

“It is simply wrong to suggest, as some do, that ‘nothing has changed’ since the amendment to s59 of the Crimes Act in June 2007.  This nationwide desire to learn more about parenting and non physical discipline is, like the law now in place, a fundamentally important step towards a less violent society”.

“We agree with those critics of the current Child Discipline Law who say the new law has not changed the ghastly pattern of child abuse and murders in the home in New Zealand.  To think it could do that so quickly is naive.  That does not make it wrong for society to draw a line in the sand that says ‘no violence against children’.  After all, we have laws against speeding and murder, but people still do both.  Shall we drop those laws too just because real life doesn’t always match the law?” added Ms Morris-Travers.

“The Child Discipline Law as it now stands represents a child-rearing standard that many New Zealanders actually already support.  Over time, support for the law and reduced tolerance for any violence against children will increase and people will acknowledge that not hitting children makes sense”.

“In the meantime, the public will once again debate the rights and wrongs of hitting children.  We urge people to look behind the misleading claims that are stirring up unfounded fear, to find out what the law actually says and how it is working by visiting

“A YES vote protects children and supports positive, non-violent parenting,” concluded Ms Morris-Travers.

Audio: Deborah Morris-Travers talks to 95bFM Paul Deady about the “face punch” trial

May 21, 2009

bFM Wednesday Wire’s Paul Deady talked to Deborah Morris-Travers yesterday, and the result was an unusually thorough discussion of the real issues behind the Christchurch “face punch” trial which has been trivialised by many in the mainstream media and in the odd lobby of people who think it’s OK to hit children.

Deborah also discusses the upcoming referendum, and why your YES Vote is so important.

Key points:

  • It’s significant that it was a jury ruling
  • The Police had discretion to prosecution, and police the six-monthly reports issued since the 2007 law change show that they are only prosecuting cases where parents have seriously injured their children
  • The court sentences being handed down in these cases are usually anger management and parenting education courses – which seems entirely appropriate, and provides additional support to the offenders to do their jobs properly as parents.
  • Parents are not being criminalised – The public is being seriously misled by groups like Family First and the Kiwi Party who are pro-violence against children.  These groups have sought to minimise the significance of the issue by referring to this case as the “ear-flicking” case.
  • These groups collected enough signatures to force an unnecessary and expensive referendum on a stupidly worded question.
  • Smacking Children is not good parental correction, and there are 92 international studies that show that positive parenting is better, and that hitting children is harmful.
  • A YES VOTE promotes positive parenting and supports children.
  • Independent of the Referendum, the Child Discipline Law is scheduled to undergo a full review by the Ministry of Social Development later this year.
  • John Key has said repeatedly that the law is working well and National continues to support the law.
  • Public perception of the law is strong – a recent UMR Research poll showed that 43% of the public support the law, 28% are opposed, and the rest are undecided.
  • Children attain the best behaviour outcomes when they live in an environment that includes good structure, clear boundaries, warm communication, and love.
  • In homes where parents use violence against their children to correct their behaviour over four years or more, the violence tends to escalate.  In many homes where children are abused, the parents say that it started out as punishment, but the punishment has gone badly wrong.

Seminar at Victoria University on the Child Discipline Law 14 May 2009

April 26, 2009

Seminar announcment

Victoria University of Wellington
Health Services Research Centre
School of Government

New Zealand’s 2007 child discipline law – a post law change report

Beth Wood and
Deborah Morris-Travers

Thursday, 14 May 2009, 12.30 – 1.30pm
Railway 501, Level 5, West Wing Railway Station
(entrance through Railway Station, take Lift 3 to Level 5)
Pipitea Campus, Victoria University, Wellington

In 2007 the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act repealed the existing section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 and replaced it with a new set of provisions which included a clear message that use of force for correction of children was no longer legal in New Zealand.

In this presentation Beth Wood (from EPOCH New Zealand) and Deborah Morris-Travers (from Barnardos New Zealand) will review what is known about public knowledge of the law and attitudes towards it and what is known about how the law is working in practice.

They will discuss the forthcoming referendum on the question, Should a smack as part of good parental discipline be a criminal offence in New Zealand? The discussion will include an analysis of the question and describe a campaign to try to ensure that the non-binding referendum outcome does not threaten the new law.

Feel free to bring your lunch – our seminars are informal
You are welcome to bring your colleagues
RSVPs are not required and there is no charge

Enquiries to: Hilary Stace Ph: 04 463 6569

We encourage you to download the flyer, print it out and post it in your offices!

Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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