Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Time to overturn the anti-smacking law

MacDoctor makes much sense on Jimmy Mason’s conviction for punching his four-year-old in the face – a crime that was illegal before Sure Bradford and is still illegal now.  As such, as MacDoctor says, “It is not even remotely a test case for the new legislation.”

This is not to say at that the Bradford/Clark/Key anti-smacking law should “trundle along unattended to, on the grounds that [we] are not seeing large numbers of convictions under the new law. This is a dangerous illusion. The damage is being done to thousands of toddlers as I type.”

This is the damage to children of receiving no discipline at all – since under the fear, uncertainty and doubt of brought in by the new anti-smacking regime, no parent now knows what the hell they’re legally allowed to do with their own children. The resulting horror stories of good parents being hounded for administering a light tap and other parents simply giving up on any parental discipline whatsoever is frankly  “far worse for children than the inappropriate punch of Jimmy Mason.”

MacDoctor makes a good argument for reinstating the legal protection of Section 59 immediately.  Read Not Smacking and see if you can disagree.

1 comment:

  1. I find it frustrating that although Boscawen's amendment is an improvement, it perpetuates the idea that it is the state's role to dictate what methods of discipline are appropriate.

    Once you have said it is illegal to cause harm that is more than "transitory and trifling", as Boscawen's amendment says, what need is there for any further rules about how you are allowed to administer harmless discipline?

    Yet Boscawen's amendment goes on to dictate that you cannot use any "implement" (whatever that is defined as) to discipline your child, only your bare skin - despite the fact that you can kill a child with your bare hands if you like, and his amendment will leave it legal to kick your kid if you want, so this has nothing to do with whether the child is being abused. It just adds unnecessary complication and authoritarianism to an otherwise ok amendment.

    I have explained myself better here:


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