Posts Tagged umr research

Gabriel Pollard: only 20 percent of people oppose the Child Discipline Law

June 3, 2009

The repeal of Section 59 from the Crimes Act in New Zealand has only 20% of New Zealanders opposing it. The often dubbed “anti-smacking law” removed the right for adults to use “reasonable force” to discipline their children.

43% of thosse  surveyed by UMR on behalf of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner responded positively to the anti-smacking law, 28% opposed; the rest were neutral. However, when asked the question, “Should children be entitled to the same protection from assault as adults?”, 80% said that they should. Lobby group Family First NZ is dismayed at this figure. National Director Bob McCoskrie said, “This figure should be 100%. But the Children’s Commissioner has simply caused confusion by misrepresenting the effect of the law and the difference between assault and a light smack.”

The Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 is fairly well known by the public, but specifics weren’t as well publicised. Perhaps this is why there has been a citizens’ initiated referendum (well over 200,000 eligible voters signed a petition supporting smacking). Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro said, “Many parents are ready to move on and find positive ways of parenting that involve discipline without violence, so there needs to be support for that with information and education.”

In 1993 a survey was conducted around the theme, “is it alright to use physical punishment with children” which resulted in 87% agreeing. In 2008, it was at a recorded 58%.

The referendum is open to all eligible New Zealand voters will be held in August via postal vote.


Gabriel Pollard is a Journalism student in Christchurch who writes for Wikinews and blogs at Bird’s Eye News.

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.

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

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