To me it seems as if people are ignoring the justification behind making something a criminal act, and the potential for that same justification being used to criminalise other things.
"We don't like it" = illegal (who decides, and what else don't we like?)
"There are better ways" = illegal (legislating on idealism?)
"It causes harm" = illegal (what degree and what else? shouting? ear piercing? not vaccinating?)
"we want to send a message to society" = illegal (says who? who decides the message?)
So I will address the question, yes in some ways I do think it should be illegal. I acknowledge that a tap on the bum is different to belting your child and leaving bruises. I also don't think those that use the tap are necessarily abusive parents, in fact I'm sure most are loving good mums and dads.
I think maybe the illegality of it could be good though in some ways, bc plenty give more than a tap. My mum's favourite was slapping me across the face among other abusive tactics. So it would restrict these sort of parents to be accountable, not just in regard to a child protection stance but legally as well.
I do have concerns of the pressure this will place on child protection. In the mid 90's in VIC when it become law that everyone must be mandatory reporters of sorts i.e. so in Vic if you see your neighbour belting into their child, you are morally and legally obliged to report. There was a *massive* influx of notifications. But to Vic's credit, then made a huge investment into more funding. DoCS unfortunately is even more under resourced.
So if it was made illegal, there would have to be more police in investigate, more CP staff bc the case loads will grow.
So morally I see the value. Financially it's going to be a huge investment, and is also possibly penalising decent parents that give a tap once a year.
So after that big long thing, I really don't know where I sit lol
Last edited by delirium; 28-07-2013 at 15:04.
Ive seen those open hands across the bum smacks. Ive seen people take them too far because they dont know better. They cant differenciate between a tap and something that yanks their kids arm in its socket and makes them swing while theyre being held up on their tip toes to hold them in place for their dicipline. But it was still a smack. Open hand on the bum. No marks left afterward.
Ive been that kid, too, who had no say because I was being "diciplined". And it sucks and made me feel kind of violated. Because there wasnt a thing I could say that would make it stop, despire being repeatedly told that if someone is doing something to me that I felt is wrong or inappropriate I'm allowed to say no and they should stop. Only they don't?
I can understand grabbing in public, or swatting a hand away from a hot thing, etc. There's discussion afterward. Its reflex to get them out of danger as quickly as humanly possible.
But a smack on the bum for them misbehaving, how do you explain that? "You did the wrong thing so you deserved a smack on the bum to dicipline you".
In fact, I have heard that statement. And no one ever agrees with it in the context it's usually used in.
It just makes no sense to me.
Like I've said many times I acknowledge the concerns about how far does gov't go, but given the example set already by the countries that have enacted this law I don't share those concerns. At all.
And it's already a crime to smack kids, it's just that parents get a defence.
How would those you don't think the law should change feel about another parent smacking their child? Even just a tap? Is it ok for a parent but what about an aunt? Or a close friend? Genuine question as I have no idea what I'd do in that case (apart from probably never have anything to do with the person again).
Last edited by Sonja; 28-07-2013 at 15:20.
In fact, I find it a bit curious that those worried about a "nanny state" presumably on the grounds that they place importance on individual rights and freedoms do not seek to champion the human rights of those most vulnerable to abuse and least able to stand up for themselves.
As for "who" decides, that's what a democracy is for. I must say I share Sonja's dismay that as a society we haven't yet evolved to a point where children receive the same legal protection against violence as everyone else in the community.
And I get that it makes no sense to you too. I don't use smacking as a form of discipline. But I also don't like shouting. I don't shout at my kids - never have. However, there have been threads on here where huge numbers of people have talked about how they yell at their kids and wish they didn't. I don't like that people do it, it's not something I do, and it's something where I could say "children don't deserve to be on the receiving end of that, and they could be frightened/ belittled, etc." But I accept that most people who yell are still good parents and trying to do right by their kids. I don't think we should criminalise yelling, and I see that as similar to smacking.
It is absolutely right that it is illegal to harm/ assault a child, and there are already laws in place for that.
I've said it earlier in this thread, as have others, but children are different from adults. I cannot punish/ discipline an adult the way that I can a child. Most who use smacking as a form of discipline are not interested in harming their children.
I have friends who I consider to be great parents who smack their kids. They are intelligent, they are lovely people, and they have great kids (who are now approaching teenage) with whom they have a good relationship. They believe that smacking was effective for them as parents.
It's not something I choose to do, but I can still respect that those who do are not child abusers, and nor do their children need protection from them.
I've also said it earlier, but I don't think that those who 'go too far' are in the same category as the vast majority of parents.
A child will apparently hear the word 'no' over a hundred times a day, the idea of trying not to say 'no' is to try and reserve it for situations of danger or necessity so that it has impact. Try changing things from 'no touching the tv' to 'stop touching the tv' or 'no you can't have chocolate for breakfast' to 'chocolates not s breakfast food, let's have oats'
It's not about giving in, it's about changing your vocabulary.
Elijahs Mum (28-07-2013)
Im on my phone so quoting is going to be odd so I wont quote this time.
The problem is with what I described, people class that as a smack and not as abuse. They dont see anything wrong with it and if anyone were to say anything they'd be offended with being accused of beating or abusing their kids because for them it is just a smack.
The difficulty is you cannot have 2 sets of laws, one for "good" parents and one for abusers. The law must apply to all equally. It is also not true that the current state of the law only provides a defence for a "light tap" but also the potential to provide a defence for much more concerning acts. There is a significant grey area currently so parents are left with the message that you are allowed to hit your children so long as it doesn't go "too far", the problem is there is presently no clear line for where physical discipline ends and abuse begins.
ETA - Personally, I don't view this issue as interfering in parental rights, it's about protecting children and as others have pointed out there has been significant benefit in that regard in other countries which have adopted this change.
Last edited by DailyDiversion; 28-07-2013 at 16:06.
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