Laws to give parents clear guidance on punishment
03 Apr 2001
The legislation will help distinguish the difference between discipline and punishment that goes too far.
"This is a step in the right direction towards protecting children from harm caused by excessive punishment," Ms Calvert said.
"The Bill is sensible because it gives parents guidance about what is acceptable and protects children from excessive punishment. It benefits both parents and children.
"It is not an anti-smacking bill.
"The legislation clarifies what has until now been a grey legal area around the defence of assault known as "reasonable chastisement".
Ms Calvert also highlighted the importance of community education around the issue of disciplining children.
"Community education backed up by the weight of law will result in real advances being made in this area.
"Parents tell me they want practical guidance around discipline and they frequently identify it as one of the most stressful aspects of parenting.
"I would like to see a community education campaign to give families practical support and guidance around discipline and boundary setting," she said.
The Bill will amend the Crimes Act 1900, by articulating that punishment using physical force is not reasonable if:
- the force is applied to a child's head or neck
- the force is applied to any part of the body in such a way as to cause, or threaten to cause harm to the child which lasts more than a short period.