When Did The Anti Smacking Law Come In Nz?
- Marvin Harvey
|Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007|
|New Zealand Parliament|
| hide Long title
The purpose of this Act is to amend the principal Act to make better provision for children to live in a safe and secure environment free from violence by abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction.
|Royal assent||21 May 2007|
|Commenced||21 June 2007|
|Introduced by||Sue Bradford|
|Crimes Act 1961|
|Status: In force|
The Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 (formerly the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill ) is an amendment to New Zealand ‘s Crimes Act 1961 which removed the legal defence of “reasonable force” for parents prosecuted for assault on their children.
The law was introduced to the New Zealand Parliament as a private member’s bill by Green Party Member of Parliament Sue Bradford in 2005, after being drawn from the ballot. It attracted intense debate, both in Parliament and from the public. The bill was colloquially referred to by several of its opponents and newspapers as the “anti-smacking bill”,
The bill was passed on its third reading on 16 May 2007 by 113 votes to eight. The Governor-General of New Zealand granted the Royal Assent on 21 May 2007, and the law came into effect on 21 June 2007. A citizens-initiated referendum on the issues surrounding the law was held between 30 July and 21 August 2009, asking “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Despite widespread criticism of the question’s wording, the referendum was returned with an 87.4 percent “No” vote on a turnout of 56.1 percent.
Who brought in the anti smacking law NZ?
The bill, introduced by Sue Bradford, was passed its third reading in Parliament by 113 votes to 7 on 16 May 2007.
Is smacking children illegal in NZ?
Can my parents smack me? – It is illegal for a parent to smack or use force against their child to discipline them or to correct their behaviour. Repeatedly using force against a child for discipline or correction could amount to domestic violence. There are limited circumstances where a parent may use reasonable force against their child,
What is the oldest law in New Zealand?
The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840, is widely believed to have established British law in New Zealand.
What was the first country to ban smacking?
LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images Wales has become the second UK nation to ban the smacking or slapping of children. Scotland was the first to ban physical punishment of children, in November 2020, although the British crown dependency of Jersey led the way by vetoing smacking in April of that year.
Now, Wales has followed by removing the legal defence of reasonable punishment, which means “anyone who smacks a child in their care could be arrested and prosecuted for assault”, the BBC reported. First Minister Mark Drakeford said that the ban marked a “historic day” for children and that there was “no place for physical punishment in a modern Wales”.
“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child makes it clear that children have the right to be protected from harm and from being hurt and this includes physical punishment,” he continued. “That right is now enshrined in Welsh law. “No more grey areas.
No more defence of reasonable punishment. That is all in the past.” Critics have claimed that law change could criminalise parents and create a “Stasi culture”, with people “shopping” their neighbours or making malicious allegations, reported The Guardian, Julie Morgan, the deputy minister for social services, insisted that “we don’t want people spying”.
“Looking after children is the responsibility of the whole community,” she said. Polling by YouGov for the NSPCC on 21 March, the day that Wales officially banned smacking, found that attitudes to smacking in England are changing too. Of almost 3,000 adults quizzed, 68% said that physically disciplining a child was not acceptable, and 64% backed a smacking ban in England.
England is now in the “lonely” position of being the only nation in Britain that allows parents to hit their children, putting it, said The Times, Along with Northern Ireland, England still permits smacking that is deemed to constitute “reasonable punishment”. The vast majority of countries across the world have codified laws banning child abuse, including that committed by a parent or guardian under the guise of “discipline”.
But more moderate physical chastisement occupies a grey area in most of these nations. Until recent decades, corporal punishment was not considered taboo even in otherwise progressive countries. Caning was not outlawed in British state schools until 1987, and remained legal in private schools until 1997.
But while the developed world continues to move towards non-physical forms of discipline, only a minority of countries have completely outlawed corporal punishment. According to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, a total 63 states worldwide have made smacking children illegal in any setting, including the home.
Corporal punishment is illegal in schools in a total of 135 countries. In 1979, Sweden became the first country in the world to explicitly ban the corporal punishment of children. The ban sparked a fierce debate about parental rights and state responsibilities and “made headlines all over the world”, says Radio Sweden,
- One of the station’s correspondents recalled “reading headlines like ‘The Swedes have gone mad’ and ‘The government takes charge of parenting in Sweden'”.
- Other early adopters include Norway, Finland, Austria and Denmark.
- In the 1990s, a slew of European countries outlawed the practice, and in 2000, Israel became the first non-European state to ban smacking.
Countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia have also joined the growing list of nations where corporal punishment is banned. South Korea and Colombia last year became the most recent nations to ban all forms of smacking and corporal punishment of children.
When was hitting your child become illegal?
Any form of physical punishment that leaves a mark on a child or young person is considered an assault and is illegal under the Section 58 of the Children Act 2004.
What age can you legally kick your child out NZ?
Published on: 6 June 2019
According to the New Zealand Police website young children must never be left alone in a house or vehicle as they need constant supervision. ” It is illegal to leave a child under the age of 14 years without reasonable provision for their care, ” This usually means that until your children are 14 years old you will need to have a babysitter or an older family member look after your children.
Generally the law allows parents to leave a young person without supervision once they are 14 years old. However, leaving a child for an unreasonable period of time in way that puts them at risk of harm could be considered neglect according to the Children’s Commissioner. It’s worth remember that although 14 years old is the legal age your kids can be left alone, we think you should only do this if both you and your child are comfortable with this decision.
All children are different and some children may not want to be at home alone when they are 14 years old, or you might not trust your child who is over 14 to be at home by themselves.
Is smacking your toddler illegal?
Parents – As a parent, you don’t have the legal right to smack your child unless it is ‘reasonable punishment’ – find out more from Child Law Advice. If the violence you use is severe enough to leave a mark, for example a scratch or a bruise, you can be prosecuted for assault or the child can be taken into local authority care.
Does NZ have Romeo and Juliet laws?
Teenagers And Sexual Consent – It’s Like A Cup Of Tea If you haven’t seen the excellent video clip comparing sexual consent to drinking a cup of tea, and let your teens watch it too. It certainly provides a fun and memorable summary of the important points. However, it’s only the proverbial tip-of-the-iceberg for an issue that’s a lot more complicated.
- What consent is Sexual consent is an explicit and enthusiastic agreement to participate in a sexual activity.
- What makes is tricky is that even if your partner said yes to one type of sexual engagement, it doesn’t automatically imply their consent to a different sex activity.
- For example, they may consent to kissing but not to touching, to or kissing on the mouth but not on the throat, and so on.
In practice, it could be a bit of a mood killer when you have to break away from a kiss in order to ask: “Is it all right if I touch your boob now?”, but that’s the law, and yeah, you have to ask. Some questions that can help along the way include:
- “Are you happy with us doing this?”
- “Are you comfortable to go further?”
- “Do you want to stop?”
- “What things don’t you want to do?”
- “Take my hand and put it where you want it.”
Every. Freaking. Time. What consent is not
- “No” – means NO.
- “I’m not sure” – means NO.
- “Maybe later” – means NO.
- “Um” – means NO.
- Silence – means NO.
- “Yes” given under pressure, as a result of blackmail (“Say yes or else” ), or in a threatening situation – means NO.
- It’s important to realise that some people may have a hard time expressing themselves, and that they may not have the skill to say no explicitly. They may not want to hurt the other person’s feelings, too embarrassed to appear uncool, too overwhelmed (wow, the person I had a crush on for six months is kissing and undressing me, wow). If they seem passive or not enthusiastic, it’s a NO.
Consent is temporary Everyone person has the absolute right to decide whether or not they want to do something sexual with a particular partner at any given time and place. They also have the absolute right to change their mind at any point. They can say no to something they’ve done before.
They even can say no during the activity, even if they’ve just said yes to it three seconds ago. Even if you’re in a long-term committed relationship, either of you has the right to say no at any time. How to say no If things are moving along too quickly or not in the right direction, you can use body language as well as words to withdraw your consent.
Make your body rigid, put out your hand in a stop sign, pull away. If you feel safe, you can do it graciously and with a smile, saying something along the lines of: “Sorry, I’m not ready for that”, “We need to slow down”, “Can we take a break?” or “Can we stop here?”, escalating all the way to “You need to stop RIGHT NOW” if necessary.
- If the other person isn’t getting the message, it’s time for more drastic actions, such as raising your voice or calling for help (shouting “Fire!” draws more attention than shouting “Rape!”, unfortunate but useful to know).
- You can also use self-defence techniques and physical violence to get away.
If that happens, it’s a good idea to speak to an adult, Life Line or the police. It’s not over-reacting: the person needs to learn about consent or they will end up hurting someone (as well as ruining their own life). Why consent is important Unwanted sexual activity can have a severely damaging long-lasting impact in the form of depression, anxiety, impaired interpersonal relationships, and/or substance misuse.
- Performing a sexual activity without consent is also illegal, and can result in an arrest, prosecution and jail.
- What the law says
- A person cannot legally give consent if they are incapacitated in any way (drunk, under the influence of drugs, sleeping), or if they are too young.
The legal age of consent in New Zealand is 16 (or 18 if there is a guardian-dependant relationship between the parties). This is the minimum age at which a person is considered legally old enough to consent to sexual activity. The age of consent varies from country to country.
- For instance, in the United Kingdom, the age of consent is 16; however, in the United States, the age of consent is 18.
- You can read more about the state here, but remember, in the United States the law differs from state to state.
- People aged 15 or younger are not legally able to give consent.
- New Zealand law has no “Romeo and Juliet” provisions (which would waive criminal liability for consensual sex that occurs between two minors).
In other words, even if you yourself are underage, it’s still illegal for you to have sex with someone under 16 (and it’s equally illegal for them to have sex with you).
- The take-away message
- Sexual consent is yours to give, refuse or take back at any time, every time.
- 3 things to remember
- Consent has to be explicit and enthusiastic.
- Either party can always change their mind at any stage, even within a relationship.
- Drink and drugs affect consent.
- In their own words
- “Consent is something we talked about in Health. Boys especially are always expected to want sex, so I think society pressures them to do it before they might be ready.” So, consent is not as simple as the other party saying yes: even the person initiating sex should ask themselves whether it’s what they really want.
- “I know a girl who was raped by her boyfriend when she was 13 because she didn’t know how to say no, so I think the conversation should happen – the younger the better.”
- “Ever since PRIMARY we’ve been told about how to say no to peer pressure and why smoking is bad for you. Remember Harold the Giraffe?” In other words, from an early age, parents can engrain the message that it’s okay to say no to any activity your peers may suggest, be it smoking, alcohol, drugs or sex.
By Yvonne Walus While e-cigarettes were once hailed as less harmful than traditional cigarette smoking, Tiffany Brown looks at evidence Is your teen vaping? Tips To Help Have you ever wondered whether you are doing the right thing, are you on the right path, How To Help Teens Find Their Purpose It’s true that money can be used to increase your level of comfort.
Someone once said, ‘They Money will buy comfort and a level Life goes well when you have good mates that add value to your life, and vice versa. How teens can develop healthy friendships and We all know gaming is here to stay, but how can we improve family dynamics around gaming GAMING – IS IT RUINING YOUR TEEN’S Cat Coluccio is an educator, life coach, and author of the “21 Hacks” book series.
Her latest 3 Hacks To Help You (and Your : Teenagers And Sexual Consent – It’s Like A Cup Of Tea
When did NZ stop capital punishment?
The last execution in New Zealand: Walter Bolton, 18 February 1957 – Walter Bolton was the last person to be executed in New Zealand when he was convicted of poisoning his wife Beatrice. He was hanged for her murder at Mount Eden prison. The death penalty for murder was abolished in New Zealand in 1961, and there were claims that this was due partly to the circumstances surrounding Bolton’s case.
- Bolton’s execution raised the usual questions about the death penalty.
- Some people believed that capital punishment was legalised murder and that it was morally wrong to take another human’s life in this way.
- Others opposed capital punishment on religious grounds or on the grounds that mistakes were made.
Traces of arsenic had been found in small doses in Beatrice’s tea. The quantity consumed over the best part of a year was enough to kill her. Water on the Bolton’s farm was tested and found to contain arsenic, and traces of arsenic were also found in Walter and one of his daughters.
- The defence argued that sheep dip had inadvertently got into the farm’s water supply.
- The prosecution’s case was strengthened by evidence that Bolton had admitted to having had an affair with his wife’s sister, Florence.
- The idea that Beatrice’s death was a result of accidental poisoning lost credibility.
After deliberating for two hours and ten minutes, the jury returned a guilty verdict. When the judge asked Bolton why there was any reason he shouldn’t pronounce the death sentence, Walter Bolton replied, ‘I plead not guilty, sir.’ A newspaper story later claimed that Bolton’s execution had gone horribly wrong.
This highlighted another concern of opponents of the death penalty – that executions were cruel and inhumane. Rather than having his neck broken the instant the trapdoor opened, Bolton, allegedly, slowly strangled to death. There is, of course, no turning back after an execution if it is subsequently proven that a person was innocent of the crime – and there are some who still claim that Bolton was an innocent man.
What if an innocent man had been so cruelly killed on behalf of the people of New Zealand?
What is the world’s oldest law?
Babylon – The oldest written set of laws known to us is the Code of Hammurabi. He was the king of Babylon between 1792 BC and 1758 BC. Hammurabi is said to have been handed these laws by Shamash, the God of Justice. The laws were carved on huge stone slabs and placed all over the city so that people would know about them.
When did smacking a child become illegal in Australia?
Physical punishment in primary and secondary schools – With the exception of Queensland, all Australian states and jurisdictions have prohibited the use of physical punishment in all schools. While the ACT has not explicitly banned physical punishment in non-government schools, the current interpretation of the law is that the ban applies to all school contexts.
|Jurisdiction||Legislative Act or Criminal Code||Legislation regarding the use of physical punishment in primary and secondary government and non-government schools|
|ACT||Education Act 2004 (s 7)||Physical punishment was banned in schools in 1997 under the Education Act 2004 (s 7). The purpose of the Act was to ban physical punishment in ‘all schools’. The Act does not explicitly state that it relates to both government and non-government schools; however, the interpretation is that it applies to both.|
|NSW||Education Act 1990 Education Reform Amendment (School Discipline) Act 1995||Physical punishment was banned in government schools in NSW under the Education Act 1990 (NSW). The Education Reform Amendment (School Discipline) Act 1995 extended the ban on physical punishment to non-government schools.|
|NT||Education Act 2015 (s 162)||The Education Act 2015 (s 162) prohibits the use of physical punishment in all schools by any person who is a member of staff, engaged to teach or support teaching in any school. Previously, the Criminal Code Act made it lawful for teachers in government schools to use physical punishment unless parents expressly withheld their consent to such forms of correction.|
|Qld||Criminal Code Act 1899 (s 280)||Queensland prohibited the use of physical punishment in government schools in 1989 by repealing provisions that allowed for it in the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld). For physical punishment in non-government schools, the Criminal Code Act 1899 (s 280) states it is lawful for ‘a person in the place of a parent, or for a schoolteacher or master, to use, by way of correction, discipline, management or control, towards a child or pupil, under the person’s care such force as is reasonable under the circumstances’.|
|SA||Education and Children’s Services Act 2019 (s 83) Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011 (s 166)||South Australia repealed provisions that allowed for physical punishment in schools in 1991 in the Education (Amendment) Act 1991 (SA). In the Education and Children’s Services Act 2019, all education settings are prohibited from using physical punishment. Prohibition of physical punishment is also included in the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011,|
|Tas.||Education Act 2016 (s 248)||The Education Act 2016 (s 248) states that any staff member of a school ‘must not administer, or threaten to administer, corporal punishment to a student of that school’.|
|Vic.||Education and Training Reform Act 2006 Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007 (reg 14)||Physical punishment was banned in government schools in 1985. It was banned in non-government schools in 2006 following the enactment of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic.). The prohibition of physical punishment in government schools is also outlined in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007.|
|WA||School Education Regulations 2000 (s 40) Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (s 257)||Physical punishment was banned in government schools under the School Education Regulations 2000 (s 40). The regulations banning physical punishment were extended to non-government schools in 2015 in accordance with the School Education Act 1999 (s 159) and the School Education Regulations 2000 (s 131). The Criminal Code Act (s 257) still states that it is lawful ‘for a parent or a person in the place of a parent, or for a schoolmaster’ to use ‘such force as is reasonable under the circumstances’.|
Is smacking your child illegal in Australia?
Is it ok for my parents to physically punish me or hit me if I’ve done something wrong? – No one is allowed to use extreme force to hurt you, but it is not against the law for your parents to use physical punishment, such as a smack. However, if your parents are using more than a little bit of force, or they hurt you more than they should for someone your age or maturity, this can be against the law.
When did hitting kids stop in school?
Corporal punishment in public schools was banned in 1914, but remained de facto commonplace until 1984, when a law banning all corporal punishment of minors, whether in schools or in the home, was introduced.
Is smacking your child OK?
Stress response – Parental stress plays an important role in the use of physical punishment. When parents are stressed, they are less sensitive towards their children’s needs and are more likely to use harsher discipline, such as smacking. A parent who occasionally smacks their child may end up smacking their child more often or using harsher forms of physical discipline when they become stressed.
- Smacking is an emotional response, often done when parents do not know how to control their children.
- My colleagues and I at the University of Winchester conducted a study during the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK.
- We asked 322 parents about their stress levels and their discipline practices.
- Unsurprisingly, parents reported being much more stressed than before the pandemic.
Parents who were very stressed reported disciplining their children more frequently and being harsher with them. Our findings are consistent with multiple reports claiming that the risk of violence against children increased worldwide during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Nevertheless, some psychologists have argued that we cannot categorically say that smacking is negative for children. In some cases the studies examining smacking do so in combination with other forms of corporal punishment, such as punching or hitting. Therefore, they argue that the real effects of smacking on children’s development may have been exaggerated.
Furthermore, some claim that most research on this topic cannot clearly establish that smacking is definitely the cause of negative consequences for children – just that there is a link between smacking and negative consequences for children. However, one finding is clear amongst the controversy about smacking.
- It is never positive for children’s development.
- Research evidence overwhelmingly shows that physical punishment such as smacking has negative outcomes.
- Parents can use a range of other forms of discipline to help children understand why their behaviour is wrong.
- These include time out (removing a child from an environment where they are doing something that they should not do), reasoning with the child, or taking away privileges, such as removing their video game console for the weekend.
Parents should use these discipline techniques instead of smacking. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article, Press Office | +44 (0) 1962 827678 | [email protected] | www.twitter.com/_UoWNews Back to media centre
Is it illegal to physically hit your child?
Is Smacking Your Child Illegal in Australia? – Physical punishment as a form of discipline is illegal in 34 countries, including New Zealand, Germany and Spain. However, corporal punishment remains lawful in Australia. Each Australian State and Territory Law have differing interpretations of the parent’s lawful correction on their child’s behaviour through force.
Australian Capital Territory: There is no explicit law addressing parental corporal punishment, although it states that reasonable punishment is acceptable. New South Wales: Under Section 61AA of the Crimes Act 1900, parents can use reasonable physical force when disciplining their children. Northern Territory: Under Section 11 & 27 of the Criminal Code Act 1983, it is lawful for parents to discipline with force unless it is unnecessary and causes serious harm. Queensland: Section 280 of the Criminal Code Act 9 1899 states that parents and schoolteachers can apply corporal punishment if the force is reasonable. South Australia: Section 20 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 states that physical contact between people that would be considered acceptable within the community is lawful. This can be interpreted as parents using reasonable force to discipline their children. Tasmania: Section 50 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 states that if the circumstances permit, reasonable use of force in the physical discipline of children is lawful. Victoria: There is no explicit law that addresses a parent’s use of corporal punishment. However, there is a common law defence. Western Australia: Under Section 257 of the Criminal Code Act 1913, parent’s can physically discipline their children if reasonable force is applied.
In each set of State and Territory Criminal Law, a child is defined as someone who is under the age of 18. Therefore, corporal punishment can be deemed appropriate across all Australian States and Territories. An essential condition to this is that physical force is reasonable.
Can you go to jail for hitting your child?
Smacking Your Own Child – It is not illegal for a parent to hit their child as long as the ‘smack’ amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’. There is, therefore, a difference between punishment and what can feasibly be termed ‘abuse’. Unreasonable punishment is classed as a smack that leaves a mark on the child, or the use of an implement to hit the child, such as a belt or cane.
Can a 12 year old stay home alone NZ?
You can leave a child under 14 at home or in another place if you’ve made reasonable provisions to have them supervised and cared for safely, and they’re not left for a long time. Parents, guardians and caregivers can be fined a maximum of $2,000 under the Summary Offences Act 1981 if they do not make safe care arrangements for their child. This can mean if the child is under 14 and left alone:
without reasonable provision for their supervision or care for an unreasonable length of time or in unreasonable circumstances.
Safe supervision and care arrangements can mean different things for different-aged children and their circumstances. Find out more information about what the law says and what are appropriate levels of supervision for all ages of children on the Oranga Tamariki Practice Centre website: When tamariki are unsupervised (‘home alone’) The New Zealand Police and the Children’s Commissioner have information about keeping children safe.
Keeping our children safe — New Zealand Police He Āwhina, Tohutohu Help and Advice — Children’s Commissioner
Can a 13 year old decide which parent to live with NZ?
When you are 16 years old, you can decide which parent you want to live with (if they are separated), or whether to leave home.
Can I call the police if my child refuses to go to school NZ?
Does my child have to go to school every day? – Yes, if your child is under 17 years old they must go to school every day. Under the Education and Training Act 2020, parents and carers of children between 6 and 16 years old can be prosecuted if their child is away from school without a good reason.
Who was the first country to prohibit corporal punishment?
Sweden – See also Corporal punishment in the home#The 1979 Swedish ban, Sweden was the world’s first nation to outlaw all corporal punishment of children in 1966, when the law that permitted parents to use corporal punishment of their children became removed and fully replaced with the constitution of assault under the Penal Code; however, even though the law no longer supported parents’ right to use physical punishment of their children, it was believed to still be permitted (as there was no explicit ban).
School corporal punishment was already banned since 1958. On 1 July 1979, Sweden became the world’s first nation to explicitly ban corporal punishment of children, through an amendment to the Parenthood and Guardianship Code which stated, “Children are entitled to care, security and a good upbringing.
Children are to be treated with respect for their person and individuality and may not be subjected to corporal punishment or any other humiliating treatment.” In Parliament – the law was supported 259 to 6 with 3 abstensions. Corporal punishment in Sweden is not seen as a separate legal issue – but is handled according to the criteria for assault.
When did smacking kids become illegal?
Any form of physical punishment that leaves a mark on a child or young person is considered an assault and is illegal under the Section 58 of the Children Act 2004.
When did corporal punishment start in NZ?
It was a time many of us would like to forget. Less than 30 years ago, teachers in New Zealand had the legal right to physically punish their students for bad behaviour and some of them were more enthusiastic about it than others. – Corporal punishment in schools Photo: 123RF Poet, rapper, author, performer, Auckland artist Dominic Hoey mines his life for his material. This poem, which he performs live a lot, is about what he calls his “awesome education”: our teacher was a thick-necked sadist.
he carried soft brutal hands and wore big wet eyes on his stupid pig face he taught a master class in the joys of violence spelling mistakes laughing being a child all were answerable with beatings that’d make any meth head bouncer proud Dominic goes on to describe how one day this “thick-necked sadist” loses control and his beaten victim escapes from the class.
Everyone settles back down to work until a man in a red jacket arrives. He wants to know if the teacher hit his son. the man in the red jacket grabbed the teacher by the throat and dragged him from the classroom we all leapt to our feet ran to the windows our sticky fingers pressed to the glass watching with glee as the man in the red jacket beat the living shit out of the teacher ‘kill him, kick his face off’ when our teacher returned his face was a rotten mess he never did grow back to his former size and the man in the red jacket became revered like Jesus or MacGyver The name of this poem is ‘Kill Him’. Photo: Supplied No one’s saying this was standard behaviour for teachers, but most New Zealanders in their mid-30s and older can remember teacher-led violence at school – because if you were thinking this all took place a long time ago, think again. Dominic was at primary school in the 1980s.
The late 1980s. When RNZ asked our audience to share their memories of corporal punishment, they flooded in. We received literally hundreds of responses, almost all condemning the practice. Only three responses were in favour, and one of them was from an ex-teacher. I ask Dominic if receiving corporal punishment ever helped him to learn.
“Hahahahahahahaha! No.” Until 1990 teachers in New Zealand schools had the right to use what the law called reasonable force to discipline students. Although it would be difficult to describe what Dominic experienced as “reasonable force”. And yet for the longest time, that’s what many teachers, loads of parents and, to be fair, a few kids, felt about corporal punishment in New Zealand schools.
- Getting the strap, the cane, a ruler, on your bum or your hand, was just an unavoidable hazard of school life; a short, sharp shock to pull you into line and get you back to work.
- Never did anyone any harm, did it? Corporal punishment had been in state schools since they started in the 1870s.
- Our model was the British system, the cane came with it and generations of lucky kids got to feel its education-enhancing effect.
But the move to ban corporal punishment has been around since ages ago, too. The Post Primary Teachers Association, or PPTA, was founded in 1952 and just three years later, they voted on whether it was okay for prefects to cane younger students. They decided that it was.
- In 1961 the new Crimes Act included a section that would become famous again in the 2000s.
- Section 59 permitted every parent and every schoolmaster the right to use force by way of correction “if the force is reasonable to the circumstances”.
- Teachers continued to question the use of the cane.
- In 1964 Cambridge High banned it altogether; Burnside High in Christchurch followed 10 years later.
From 1970 onwards, the Department of Education began urging schools to find other options. Otara’s Tangaroa College opened in 1976 and never had corporal punishment. Detention, suspensions and expulsions were used instead. In 1975, Education Minister Phil Amos, a former teacher, called corporal punishment an “abomination”. Shona Smith. Photo: Supplied Shona didn’t, not that it mattered. As a newbie, and a woman, she wasn’t allowed to punish her students. A senior male teacher did that. “I did have conversations with boys who said to me that I couldn’t be as powerful or as important – or effective – as a male teacher,” she said.
- Because I couldn’t hit them.” There were rules.
- One every punishment was supposed to be entered into a log and, two be witnessed by another teacher.
- That was the rule if not the practice.
- Three most schools didn’t cane or strap girls.
- Just as men had the duty to give the strap, boys had the burden of receiving it.
Some boys ran bets with each other to see who could get strapped the most; the majority of us, like me, kept our heads down and our backsides out of trouble. Shona thought it was all wrong; the sexism, the undermining of her authority, and the reinforcement of an outdated idea of maleness.
- Might is right.
- In the end, if there needs to be punishment, it will be physical and it will come from a man.” The argument was that this was the only way we can keep discipline in our classes, and this view had sincere believers among many good teachers.
- Nearly, but not quite as many, good teachers disagreed.
But every time the PPTA put it to the vote, members opted to keep the cane. A new tactic was needed. A group of teachers and parents formed a ginger group called CAVE, Campaign Against Violence in Schools. CAVE adopted guerrilla tactics to win a hearts and minds campaign.
School punishment books were “borrowed”, their contents analysed and made public. Predictably, they showed that the same students were being caned over and over again. As a deterrent or a corrective, it was hard to argue that corporal punishment worked. Parents also shared photos of the injuries their children had suffered after receiving corporal punishment.
The goal was to persuade teachers, parents and the government that banning the cane was possible and desirable and would result in less violence overall in schools. In 1984, Labour’s new education minister Russell Marshall made it clear he thought the days of corporal punishment were done.
- And at their 1985 AGM the PPTA voted overwhelmingly to abolish it.
- The tide looked to have turned.
- But the government didn’t come to the party.
- Marshall was replaced and banning corporal punishment seemed to fall off the to-do list.
- Then, in 1990, and with an election looming, Labour finally moved to make corporal punishment illegal.
On 23 July 1990, section 139a of the 1989 Education Act became law and corporal punishment was no longer allowed to be used by anyone employed by, supervising or in control of a school. It was a big win. But Shona Smith wasn’t impressed. “By that time, we’d already shifted the culture.
- Almost no schools were using corporal punishment.” Shona puts it down to a more cynical reason.
- Labour was heading for a big defeat in the upcoming election and may have been looking to claw back a few votes from disgruntled teachers.
- It didn’t work.
- Labour was crushed in the election and while the incoming National government pledged to take a look at reintroducing corporal punishment, they didn’t do it.
Prime Minister Jim Bolger said we were “past all that”. Are we? Tania Kelly Roxborogh with students. Photo: Supplied Tania Kelly Roxborogh is a secondary school English teacher in Christchurch. She was strapped at school and began teaching in the last year corporal punishment was still legal. Tania is enthusiastic about the way teachers deal with bad behaviour now.
Schools are much better places, she says, since the strap disappeared. But kids haven’t suddenly become angels. “I don’t think there’s any more (violence). I would say generally students are more ready to challenge, to question and less compliant. “That acceptance of respect because someone is in authority over you, that’s not as obvious to me now.” Shona Smith says the teacher/student relationship has fundamentally changed.
“Today teaching really is about building those positive relationships (with students), focusing on the learning, helping them to grow. “We couldn’t even start to do that until corporal punishment was gone.” Photo: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
When did smacking become illegal in schools?
The landmark case – In 1982, two Scottish parents, Grace Campbell and Jane Cosans, made reports to the European Court of Human Rights about the use of corporal punishment. Both mums had children who attended state schools in Scotland, where staff were allowed at the time to hit pupils with a leather strap as a form of discipline.
Cosans’ son, Jeffrey, who was 15, was suspended for refusing to accept corporal punishment after he had taken a shortcut through a cemetery. As a result, he was suspended from his school and didn’t return. Meanwhile, Campbell had asked her local council for a guarantee that corporal punishment would not be used against her seven-year-old son, but they refused.
Credit: The Council Of Europe, Vimeo It would be considered a landmark case four years later, when the government introduced the Education Act (1986) which abolished corporal punishment in state schools. The law entered into force the following year. As a result of their complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, Campbell and Cosans received money towards their legal fees.