Saturday, August 23, 2008

Spare the Rod

It saddens me that there is a fairly decent sized group of people in New Zealand who think it is a worthwhile investment of their time and energy to attempt to get the repeal of section 59 overturned.

Just think what could really happen in society if those very people turned their time and energy to supporting the people who are identified as being at risk of child abuse. There could be mentor schemes set in place, where an at risk family is visited weekly by a normal family person. Not a social worker or other official, but a person who could model normal family behaviour. Perhaps that could make a difference? There are over 300,000 people who seem to think that the repeal of section 59 is not helping the child abuse statistics go down at all, that is an awful lot of families that could be matched.

But then again, perhaps matching an at risk family with someone who believes that parents need the right to physically punish their children is precisely what isn't needed.

If only the change in law had been matched with a huge advertising campaign and support for families in other methods of discipline as it was in Sweden, perhaps instead of facing a meaningless referendum (for neither main party sees any need to change the way it is now) we would be seeing the beginnings of a paradigm shift right now in society.

It isn't about losing the right to give your child a tap on the bottom, it is about realising that children are people too.

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