Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Valuing children now!

Partial ban on smacking condones other physical punishment, says experts!

NSW legislation banning parents from hitting their children above the neck in effect condones physical punishment, a child abuse conference will hear today.

The 2001 legislation specified where a child could legally be hit, which only perpetuates the view that physical punishment is normal and a parent's right, Bernadette Saunders, of the Child Abuse and Family Violence Research Unit at Monash University, says.

No-Smacking Day for Children in NSW

US research shows that physical punishment is ineffective in shaping children's behaviour and could cause long-term psychological harm, she says.

"The legislation may actually have the reverse effect than it intended, it in effect reinforced parents' right to hit children," Ms Saunders said yesterday.

"What it actually says is it's OK to hit your children from the shoulders down, as long it doesn't cause harm lasting more than a short, undefined period of time.

"Children are the only people in our society who can legally be hit. In some states common law exists as a defence to a charge of assault if a parent hits a child in the name of discipline."

The fact is though "could cause long-term psychological harm" should be re stated to "will cause long-term psychological harm". Just the inference of smacking as a way for parents to solve a problem teaches those children who were smacked a bad lesson.

This lesson from the person who loves them sends a message that "smacking solves problems". It could deliver another message that "short-term results are obtained by threats and smacking" the governments "wrap over the knuckles" syndrome. But the end result can be fatal. Just ask Justice Alastair Nicholson of the Family Court "Smacking a child ought be seen as assault" He said.

There is one clear and unequivocal message that violence including domestic violence is caused by the very classically conditioned idea that threats and violence "smacking" somehow solves problems. When a persons resources are low like in a crisis situation and people become frustrated, then it becomes second nature to rely on the social skills you have learned, to try and solve your own main problem.

National No Smacking day will help people become aware of the numerous ways of problem solving that don't include threats or violence and this is not a new idea.

First International No-Smacking Day for Tasmania - The Child Friendly State Launched April 30th 2003.

The rest of Australia could help solve the crime of violence by planting the seed of non-violence. Better awareness about other ways of problem solving! This means long term results, less violence, less prisons and it also means more money in the education bin.

Ms Saunders will present the paper, titled Physical Punishment: The Thoughts, Feelings and Words of Australian Children, at the Ninth Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, which began at Darling Harbour yesterday.

When the punishment is the crime and planting the seed

About 1000 child protection professionals and 60 children from Australia and overseas will attend the four-day conference.

In her opening speech the Community Services Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, will tell the conference there has been a "massive increase" in the number of reports of child abuse in the past five years, which she attributes to a rise in inequality across the population, as well as an increase in mandatory reporting.

A spokeswoman for Ms Tebbutt said yesterday that there had been a 436 per cent increase in "reports of concern" to the Department of Community Services.

Ms Saunders said Australia's attitudes on the physical punishment of children, banned in Sweden in 1976, were slowly changing, with the use of implements such as a belt, wooden spoon or garden hose becoming less common.

"There's probably less tolerance of severe physical punishment and the use of implements . . . however there is still a tolerance of smacking children and that'll only change with education and increased parental support," she said.

Research by the Australian Childhood Foundation showed 75 per cent of parents thought it was acceptable to sometimes smack a naughty child, but 95 per cent disagreed with the use of implements, she said.

Charles Dickens said, "Life is a secret and you haven't got the key."

But There Are Keys

26 November 03


Development problems hit 1 in 4 kids: study
Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley has described the results of a groundbreaking study into child development as frightening.

WHEN THE PUNISHMENT IS THE CRIME AND PLANTING THE SEED In New South Wales today if you get into trouble with the law you have little or no defence. Unless you're wealthy enough to get yourself a lawyer and even then the odds you will escape justice are minimal because of the infrastructure and resource of the government opposed to your Legal Aid Status. I am not saying Legal Aid cannot help you but I am saying they have become overworked and under resourced.

Zero Tolerance for Families
A three-strikes plan, which uses the threat of fines and jail to (force) parents to meet their parental obligations after divorce, could be introduced under a draft proposal from the parliamentary committee charged with reviewing the Family Law Act.

Fatherless Society "80-20 rule Vs 50-50 rule" family law
A Federal Parliamentary inquiry has heard that more children will grow up without fathers unless changes are made to family law. The committee is considering whether separated parents should share equal custody of their children.

80-20 Family Court rule irrational: Martian
A Martian came down from Mars and he noticed that children were the products of a father and a mother. When the family split up the children were still the products of a father and a mother.

Australia to tackle child abuse and rescue impoverished children?
A national report on child protection in the Northern Territory has blasted the system, saying it has abandoned the most impoverished children and families in Australia.

ATSIC call to smack kids?
The ATSIC commissioner said the high levels of regulation was not unlike the attention focused on Aboriginal families that led to the creation of a Stolen Generation of Aboriginal people. Mr Hill said he did not condone violence and admitted he did not smack his own children, but he stressed he wanted the issue of child discipline debated among Aboriginal people and community leaders.

No-Smacking Day for Children in NSW
Patmalar Ambikapathy the Children's Commissioner, HOBART Tasmania spoke to Gregory Kable a caseworker at Justice Action at the Controlling Crime Conference at Redfern in Sydney yesterday and we both realised how parallel our ideas about crime prevention were.

Judge renews child detainee release call
A Family Court judge, for a second time, has appealed to Immigration Minister, war criminal, Philip Ruddock to address the issue of children in detention.

Partnership to tackle Aboriginal children's health issues
Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley has called for a sense of urgency in tackling the serious health problems facing Aboriginal children.

Graffiti: What they see is what you get
Father David Equal, a community leader has described the graffiti as the response to neglect by Australia's leaders, and the mainstream media, who have discriminated against people, recently.

Ruddock to challenge Family Court ruling
Ruddock said it is unfortunate the Full Court of the Family Court made the decision. He said a successful High Court challenge could see the children returned to detention.

Men told to change role but what for?
Fathers must take an equal role in parenting before their marriages end in divorce if changes to child custody laws are going to work, Pru Goward said yesterday.

Parents on the inside leave children on the edge
They have been dubbed the forgotten generation - the innocent casualties of their parents' crimes. New research shows that in 2001 14,500 NSW children had a parent in jail. And 60,000 NSW children under 16 have experienced the incarceration of a parent, more than half enduring the trauma of separation before they turn five.

States to cooperate on school curriculums but social skills don't rate? State and territory education ministers say Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson's heavy-handed threats to school funding will not assist their ambitious initiative to develop consistent school curriculum’s in key subjects.[?]

Family Law: Shared parenting arrangements
My children were four and two years of age and it's been fourteen years since I seen my children who are now adults. I don't know where they are because the government fragmented us by order of the Family Court of Australia, which should be called, the Anti-Family Court of Australia. Big yawn!!!

School Curriculum needs balance? Life Skills and Academic Skills go hand in hand man Colin you need to be the students friends not their judge. Only when you can invite the students into the decision making process will you get an obligation by them to change their behaviour, because you Colin could lead by example and not by power.

Australian fathers under terrorist attack-by its Politicians
Ruthless terrorists tactics are used by the state deny devoted fathers their children, and place vulnerable children at risk when they are denied their fathers protection. Five hundred thousand Australian children are denied contact with their father usually resulting from orders of the state by the Family and other Courts.

When is Michael Richardson going to remove the offending Family Court affidavit from the NSW Parliament website? Criminal: Hills district MP Michael Richardson. When is he going to remove these uncorroborated lies and family court pleadings on the confidential Family Court affidavit from the NSW Parliament website?

NSW education professor warns further commitment needed
The author of a report on the New South Wales education system has urged the major political parties to do more for education in the election campaign.

Fiona Stanley, the children's crusader
It is all about prevention. As Fiona Stanley sees it, with one in five Australian teenagers experiencing significant mental health problems, there are just not enough treatment services to cope with the demand.

Parents call for feedback on social skills
Parents are calling for the same level of feedback on their children's social development as on their academic progress, according to a national survey.

Call to update suicide prevention strategy: study
A four-year study of suicides by people under the age of 18 in New South Wales, has found little difference between rates of suicide in rural and regional areas and cities.

Alcohol is just the beginning
People who start using alcohol by their mid teens are more than twice as likely as others to experiment with different drugs and to become dependent on drugs a major Australian study has found.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.

The Seed
Respect, you only get out what you have put in. What about Life Skills, Communication and Conflict Resolution. Evolution, perhaps some children and adults miss the whole or part of the course. I did, and so how surprised do you think I was when I realised my parents missed the course as well. Things like Compromise, Win Win, Empathy, and Love. Invisible energy and other skills like public speaking, how to Relate, Assuming, Blaming, Forgiveness, Freedom and Discrimination. This is how I learned respect. If you don't know what it is then how do you relate?

The Law According to Gregory Wayne Kable
I was sharply separated from both my children aged just 4 years and two years and sent to prison for the manslaughter of my wife. I cared for my children when my wife worked and I believe that I still had a responsibility to them even after the crisis situation and tragedy. I wanted to reassure them now and find out how they were doing.