Posts Tagged womens refuge

Womens Refuge: Predictable referendum result on a stupid question

August 22, 2009

Women’s Refuge says the result of the referendum was a predictable outcome due to the phrasing of the question, “Should a smack, as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

Heather Henare, Chief Executive for the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, says “The result is disappointing, but not a great surprise. The question was framed from the outset to capture a “no” vote.

“Most people believe that firm boundaries for children are necessary and many do not see a smack as a problem. Of course they don’t want to see parents criminalised over this issue.”

“What is being missed is the fact that good parents are not being criminalised under the amended law at all.”

“The referendum question assumes that smacking can be part of good parental correction. In fact, any degree of physical hitting sends a message to children that violence is acceptable. In almost every case, there will be times when those slaps or blows will be harder than they should have been, when anger becomes part of the equation.”

Ms Henare says, “Women’s Refuge supports non-violent, positive parenting. Contrary to popular opinion, this does not mean an absence of boundaries or parental responsibility. There are honest, sensible ways to establish clear boundaries for children that do not involve smacking.”

“We believe the existing child discipline law is an important step towards changing attitudes towards family violence. It would be a great shame if this country were to take a step backwards in that respect and change the law back to allow the physical punishment of children.”

“I have personally spoken with families who have had issues with violence for generations. They have said the law was one of the things that supported their decision to make their home violence-free. They talk of the freedom of knowing that violence towards their children is no longer an option.”

Ms Henare says, “We are calling on the government to retain the current child discipline law.”

A review of the law is due to be completed later this year. Ms Henare says, “That is when we should be evaluating it. I sincerely hope the government will wait for the report and not support changes based on the outcome of this confusing referendum.”

The best support group ever

April 21, 2009 has been live less than two weeks now, but we’ve already managed to attract a fantastic list of supporters.

The list includes NGO’s, health care providers, blogs, professional organisations, private companies, religious organisations, concerned individuals, and others.

We update our list regularly, and we’d love you to register yourself and/or your organisation on our supporters page.

The striking thing about this list is that it is mainly composed of people who have to deal with the consequences of physical punishment, and thus have an interest in doing whatever they can to prevent it.  These are the ambulances at the bottom of the cliff who have built a fence at the top, and don’t want to see it torn down.

We’re interested in your own views and/or stories from your organisations that we can publish on  If you’d like to submit an item for publication, please contact us.

We’d also appreciate it if you linked to from your own web sites and blogs – let’s get the word out as widely as possible among the best support group ever.

So far, the following organisations have recently registered their support for The Yes Vote Campaign 2009:

And the following individuals have also registered their support for the 2009 Campaign:

  • Catherine Fletcher
  • Rebecca Reveley
  • Margaret Smith

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

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