New Zealand Christian group leader claims Scotland’s smacking ban law is “ideological nonsense”

The Scotsman 11 September 2018
Family First Comment: A New Zealand family values campaigner has claimed a new law banning the smacking of children in Scotland is “ideological nonsense” and will “criminalise good parents.” Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ, a conservative Christian lobby group, has been fighting the ban in his home country since it came into force more than a decade ago – and he wants Scotland to take heed.

A New Zealand family values campaigner has claimed a new law banning the smacking of children in Scotland is “ideological nonsense” and will “criminalise good parents.” Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ, a conservative Christian lobby group, has been fighting the ban in his home country since it came into force more than a decade ago – and he wants Scotland to take heed.

The Scottish Government is supporting a bill put forward by Green MSP John Finnie to abolish the legal defence of “justifiable assault,” which is currently available to parents to justify the use of physical force to discipline a child.

At present, Scottish law prohibits parents from shaking their child, striking their head and using an “implement” during punishment.

But the new legislation, expected to be passed at Holyrood within the next year, would ban smacking of any sort – and parents could face jail if they flout the law.

‘Criminalising good parents’
Mr McCoskrie said: “Your smacking ban law to be passed by politicians (in Scotland) is ideological nonsense which will do nothing to solve rates of child abuse, and will simply criminalise good parents raising great kids.”

He said that in many cases parental guidance and correction will be non-physical such as grounding a child, withdrawing their privileges or telling them off, but sometimes a parent may “reasonably decide” a smack is the most effective way to prevent or correct unacceptable behaviour.

He says many adults received a well-warranted smack when they were younger but didn’t think of it as abuse, and that although some parenting techniques do become abusive, this says more about the type of parents.

Mr McCoskrie also says that, since the 2007 introduction of the law in New Zealand, Family First has not found a single social indicator relating to the welfare of children which shows improvement. He claims this is evidence for the ban’s failure, and quotes police statistics from 2016 which show significant increases in the reporting of child physical and sexual abuse in New Zealand since 2007.

Mr McCoskrie also referred to a 2016 survey which found that two-thirds of parents in New Zealand said they would be willing to flout the law, and highlighted a 2011 study which suggested a third of parents had been threatened by their children with being reported to police if they were smacked.

When asked why politicians in New Zealand had not changed the law in the past 10 years if it has indeed failed, he replied: “They don’t like admitting mistakes. Pure and simple.”
READ MORE: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/new-zealand-christian-group-leader-claims-scotland-s-smacking-ban-law-is-ideological-nonsense-1-4798296
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