31/07/2013 – ACDP concerned but not surprised at renewed efforts to ban ‘reasonable chastisement’ which will make criminals of parents who spank their children

ACDP PARLIAMENT

STATEMENT BY CHERYLLYN DUDLEY, MP

 

ACDP concerned but not surprised at renewed efforts to ban ‘reasonable chastisement’ which will make criminals of parents who spank their children

During deliberations on the Children’s Amendment Bill in 2007, the ACDP proposed the removal of section 139 to allow the Bill to proceed without delay. The subsequent removal of section 139 (the clause banning spanking of children) was therefore welcomed by the ACDP in November that year.

Responding to reports indicating that the department of Social Development is preparing to place the matter before Parliament once again, ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley – a Member of the Social Development Portfolio Committee over the years that this and other amendments to the Children’s Act were being considered and voted on – said today that “the ACDP is concerned but not surprised at renewed efforts to ban ‘reasonable chastisement’. Concerned because it will make criminals of parents who choose to spank their children – and not surprised because we know that lobby groups have been working in communities and on government to ensure this matter is placed before the National Assembly once again”.

“The public will now have another opportunity to express themselves on this controversial issue and the degree to which they understand this to be – an intrusion into their homes and further undermining of their authority as parents.”

“The ACDP is acutely aware of the very real problem of abuse and violence against children in South Africa. Abolishing the defense of reasonable chastisement and turning the majority of responsible parents into criminals is a very weak and misguided attempt to address this problem. It is also a costly experiment which will drain budgets and man-power unnecessarily. Attempts to equate abuse and violence with reasonable chastisement are not in any way rational and must be challenged so that children and families at risk can receive the attention and interventions necessary to help them specifically”.

The ACDP had pointed out that if clause 139 had not been removed this long awaited and extremely important piece of legislation in terms of protection of vulnerable children, would have been challenged in the Constitutional Court at great expense to Parliament and the Department and ultimately the people of South Africa – and any delay in implementation of the legislation would have significantly disadvantaged vulnerable children.

 

-ENDS-

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