Mother’s Protective Instinct Should Not Be Criminal

Media Release 29 Nov 2011
Family First NZ says that the protective instinct of an Auckland mother should not be treated as a criminal assault.

“Exceptional circumstances often result in exceptional responses. When a child is seriously assaulted, as in this case, that child’s parent is naturally highly protective and it is completely understandable as to how this mother reacted,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “When the offender also shows no remorse and almost contempt, this would have exacerbated the problem.”

“If anything, and based on the media reports of what the mother did, the mother deserves credit for showing restraint. Her daughter ended up black and blue and emotionally scarred, but the offender only got a well-deserved slap.”

“The offender will probably end up with a family group conference, but the mother now has the potential of a criminal conviction for the rest of her life. Restorative justice would be appropriate in these exceptional circumstances.”

“This is not a license for parents to go around attacking children – but it is recognition of the natural and instinctive protective role of parents when their children are threatened or harmed.”

“If my child came home, having beaten another child black and blue, and then being smart towards the mother of that child, and ended up with a slapped face, I would be saying ‘you got what you deserved’. I would then be marching them down to apologise to the victim and the mother. I would not be expecting or requiring the police to prosecute the mother,” says Mr McCoskrie.


1 comment for “Mother’s Protective Instinct Should Not Be Criminal

  1. Anne-Marie Carter
    29 November 2011 at 12:48 pm

    How ridiculous that a mother be prosecuted in this situation and the kid probably deserved more than a slapped face. However violence is not OK in any circumstance and is very rarely the solution. This slap would have happened out of emotion and upset. How many times would a physical act be made if emotion was not a part of the situation. I put it to you that no adult (or child for that matter) would physically hit, verbally assault, or mentally abuse another if they had control and discipline over their emotional responses. I understand the fight for parents to have their rights, I also think it would be more useful to push for more constructive support in the form of compulsory and immediate intervention in the form of parenting courses and conflict resolution/communication skills for families at risk or more importantly as soon as they come under the radar of any family support services.

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