Big News: Bradford & Kiro Disagree On Smacking
Opinion: Dave Crampton
Big News with Dave Crampton
Bradford & Kiro Disagree On Smacking
Green MP Sue Bradford and Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro are in sharp disagreement over Bradfords bill which aims to remove reasonable force as a defence for child discipline from the Crimes Act. Such is the disagreement that Kiro refuses to comment on it and Bradford refuses to clarify her position.
It revolves around the term “violence”.
Both consider child abuse is domestic violence, both want to get rid of child abuse and both consider all forms of physical discipline as violence. Yet Bradford differs in that she considers some forms of physical discipline should not be a criminal offence. That is why she is suggesting an amendment in her bill to clarify that it is not her intention to ban physical discipline and time out. Therefore Bradford does not consider all smacking as physical abuse.
Kiro does, and often points to the Domestic Violence Act 1995.Violence is defined as physical abuse in the Domestic Violence Act, with regards to physical discipline of Children. The problem for Kiro is that the intention of Parliament when the Domestic Violence Act was passed in 1995 was that the term violence did not extend to light physical discipline. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner tried- and failed – to amend the Act so that physical discipline could legally be described as violence to set her up for a bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act.
Case law has subsequently backed up Parliaments intent.
As all physical discipline is not legally abuse, it therefore cannot legally be classed as violence. Consequently, when Kiro says she wants to get rid of violence, she conflates that term with physical abuse, but fails to say why she refuses to define what she means by violence.
When I rang Kiro to discuss this with her she rudely stated she wasn’t going to comment, and hung up in my ear.
This is really a sore point, isn’t it.