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Paediatric Society Pleads for Rights of Children

01/10/2003

The Paediatric Society of New Zealand fully supports the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. "Repealing this Act would give children in our community similar legal protection against assault that other individuals within a family such as spouses, the elderly and family pets already enjoy," Dr Nick Baker President of the Society said today. "We note that at present some individuals who have clearly assaulted children are using this Section of the Crimes Act as a defense" Dr Baker said

Repealing this Act is the not the same as a complete ban on smacking, but would be a very worthwhile step for New Zealand to take towards recognising the rights of children.

Studies of the short and long term effects of physical punishment have shown that although children will do what is requested after being hit, they don't actually learn from it. This can result in the level of violence rising in an attempt to get the child to behave.  It also teaches children an undesirable form of parenting.

The Society also encourages the Government to act on the recommendations from the United Nations Report. Cindy Kiro, Commissioner for Children has spoken strongly about the need for the Agenda for Children to be actioned. The Society fully endorses these comments.

"We have a mountain of excellent strategies gathering dust," Dr Baker said. "What we need urgently is a commitment to implementing them.  Action for children cannot just be something for the future; it needs to start now!"

Ends

For further Information:

Dr Nick Baker President. 
Nelson Hospital: Tel (03) 546 1800,
Bleep or TXT 026 258 7519

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