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Bill will hurt families, says mother who used horsewhip

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 15, 2007


Bill will hurt families, says mother who used horsewhip

5:00AM Thursday March 15, 2007
By Jarrod Booker

A mother who became a focus for outlawing smacking when she “horse-whipped” her 12-year-old son says the new legislation will destroy families like her own.

“I’m so hugely concerned about the amount of Child Youth and Family intervention that is going to occur in families,” the woman, who cannot be named, told the Herald.

“The end result of this will be that it brings about children with no boundaries. I tried everything else and nothing worked with [my son].”

In 2005, the woman admitted caning her son six times for breaking a toilet door at his school and hitting him several times on the bottom with a riding crop after he swung a softball bat at her husband’s head.

A Timaru jury found the mother, whose name was suppressed, not guilty of assault for the two incidents under section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows a parent to use force “by way of correction towards the child if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”.

Green MP Sue Bradford later told a Timaru audience that dozens of people contacted her after the case, saying it showed the need for her bill to repeal section 59.

The mother, who farms with her husband on a rural Canterbury property, said though acquitted of assaulting her son she is still fighting for custody of him.

“That’s because CYF don’t agree with the method of discipline. It hasn’t mattered that I was found not guilty. This is just reflective of what will happen if this stupid amendment to the law does pass.”

People said she had got off, but she said she had not escaped punishment. She had been heavily stigmatised, and “a lot of untruths have been told”.

She predicted “anarchy” under the amended law.

“I’m so concerned for the children of this nation. State interference into families … it’s not on. I’m frightened to discipline my children now.”

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