Friday, 9 March 2007

Family Integrity #184 -- Bradford Bill will result in Children Reporting Parents

ParentsFamily Integrity #184 -- Bradford Bill will result in Children Reporting Parents
5 March 2007

Here's a great press release from Family First.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home....Our Castle

5 MARCH 2007

Bradford 'Anti-smacking' Bill Will Result in Children Reporting Parents

Family First is warning politicians that an outcome of voting for Sue Bradford's 'anti-smacking' bill is that children will report their parents to the police when they don't like parental discipline and correction.

Prominent QC Peter McKenzie, in his opinion released last week, highlights this when he says "complaints may be made by children who have resented their means of correction or denial of privileges."

"And this is consistent with international experience," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Supt Logan, the deputy borough commander in Hackney, east London and Britain's most senior black policeman said at the weekend(1) that parents no longer use physical punishment because they fear they will end up in court facing an assault charge. He said that the results have been a decline in respect, a rise in family breakdowns and an increasing number of children being put up for adoption. He made these comments during an inquiry into patterns of crime among black men.

In Sweden (where smacking was banned in 1979), the Nordic Committee for Human Rights says(2) "Children have been informed of their rights and so they use their rights to demand more freedom to do as they please. They report their parents in the aim of obtaining freedom, unaware of the consequences of their report to the social authorities or the police...When the children realise the seriousness of their accusations they try to withdraw them, but they are held to their stories - without any consideration of the damages that the children themselves incur."

"The resentment that the parents feel towards their children whose unacceptable behaviour was the direct cause of the charges against the parents, has resulted in the loss of normal, loving parental guidance for these children. The guilt felt by the children has also seriously damaged the parent/child relationship." (cases in detail below)

Mr McCoskrie says that if politicians pass Sue Bradford's bill, it will only increase the likelihood of disgruntled children making complaints against their parents because of resentment against correction, 'time out', or denial of privileges.

"This will pit children against their parents, and will place parents under extreme pressure," says Mr McCoskrie. "This would be a totally unacceptable situation for parents who need a level of authority in order to raise their children in the best environment possible. It is already happening in NZ, with the recent example of a teenager effectively 'divorcing' her parent because she didn't like the family rules."

In an attempt to protect children from the small minority of parents who are obviously unsuitable to hold the responsibilities of parenting, we are steam-rolling good parents who deserve the backing of the state - not undermining and potentially criminalising.

Mr McCoskrie says that a child's rights should never be at the expense of the parental right to nurture, protect and set boundaries in a family setting. Rights of children have been shifted from simply protecting vulnerable children to granting them rights that are destructive to them, to good parenting practice, and to the welfare of the whole family in which they are being raised.


(1) A smack can keep children from crime says police leader - Sunday Telegraph 4 Mar 07;jsessionid=JXNKZL4HBM443QFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/03/04/nsmack04.xml

For more information contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie JP - National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

SWEDISH CASES (in detail)

Teacher case - (B 2637/92 Gothenburg District Court)

In September 1992 a teacher was convicted and fined for having maltreated his 12 year-old son. The parents - both intellectuals - had made certain rules as regards the tidying of the children's rooms and watching the TV. The children were not allowed to watch TV all evening, and their TV-time was restricted to 2 hours per evening including playing computer games.

On April 9, the father told his son to turn off the tv and empty the garbage. The boy refused to comply, so his father turned off the tv, removed the boy bodily from the sofa, put the garbage bag in his hand and shoved him towards the door. The boy cried and the following day he went to the police and reported being beaten and kicked - that he had been maltreated by his father.

The boy informed his father that he had reported him to the police, and the father explained what the consequences could be. The boy rushed off to the police station to withdraw his statement but instead, that resulted in the father also being charged for "interfering in due process".

The Pre-school teacher case - (B 5050/92 Gothenburg District Court)

A young Finnish pre-school teacher was accused of maltreating her 12 year old daughter who always kept on stealing and running away from home. The mother and daughter have been living in Sweden for 6 years and the child was emotionally disturbed because of alleged sexual abuse from her father (the parents divorced before mother and daughter moved to Sweden).

Once when the girl had run away from home she was taken care of by the police and the social authorities in Falköping. The girl then said that she was afraid to return home because her mother would be angry with her for having run off once again, that her mother would perhaps smack her.

The policeman then advised the girl of her rights according to the law, and that her mother was not allowed to even lay a finger on her - only talk to her. She was also encouraged to go to the police and report her mother if ever she should lay hands on her.

A few weeks later, the girl ran off once again and when she finally returned home late that night she was very provocative. Her mother became angry and physically punished her. The girl went to the police the next morning and filed charges against her mother.

The mother was found guilty of maltreatment.

The Hälsingborg Case - (Order of summary punishment (Strafföreläggande) 1252-882-84)

Hälsingborgs District Attorney issued an order of summary punishment on May 23, 1984 against a Swedish father for physically punishing his 12 year old.

The boy's friends used to call the family's telephone so often that the parents decided to get a secret number. The boy was told not to give the number to his friends. On April 27, 1984, when a call came for the boy, his father accused him of having given the new telephone number to his friends.

When the boy denied doing this, his father accused him of lying and physically punished him. His mother saw what had happened and instructed the boy to report his father to the police. The family then sat down to dinner and an hour later the boy went to the police and reported his father.

The mother was interrogated by the police on May 14, 1984. The police asked her if she had been aware of the consequences of a report to the police. She replied: "I wasn't, but I thought that the police would talk to Dad, and give him a warning so that he wouldn't do it again. If we had known that it would go as far as this, we would never have reported the incident. It would have remained within the family."

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