2011/14: Should parents be able to physically punish their children?
Introduction to the media issue
Video clip at right:
An August, 2011, Channel 10 news report on the Presbyterian Church’s defence of Victorian parents’ right to punish their children using corporal punishment. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.
What they said...
'I don't think we should be criminalising people, who when their children run across the road they give them a tap on the bum'
Adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
'85% of all cases of physical abuse [of children] results from some form of over-discipline through the use of corporal punishment'
Canadian Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse
The issue at a glance
On August 8, 2011, it was reported that the Presbyterian Church is concerned that the Victorian Human Rights Charter could result in parents being prohibited from using corporal punishment with their children.
The Victorian Parliament's Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee is currently charged with reviewing the Charter. In a submission to the Parliamentary inquiry, the Presbyterian Church claimed the Charter could be used to remove the common law right to smack children provided the force used was not unreasonable or excessive.
However, a number of child welfare experts have claimed that corporal punishment is not an effective means of modifying a child's behaviour.
It has further been noted that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child might also be used to offer children protection from parental corporal punishment.