Comments on the revised draft of the Children’s Amendment Bill 2018 are open until November 29, says Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA) in an email alert calling for broad public participation in the process through submitting written comments.
Section 7 of the Bill proposes that any punishment, within the home or other environment, in which physical force or action is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or harm to the child”, be unlawful — effectively making any form of physical discipline by a parent – no matter how light or well-intentioned – illegal and potentially subject to criminal prosecution for assaulting a child, to which there will be no defence in law, says FOR SA.
Objections highlighted by FOR SA are:
- Existing law (including the Children’s Act, the Domestic Violence Act, and the common law offence of “assault”) already provides firm and adequate protection against child abuse and violence. The amendment, however, poses a severe threat to parental rights and religious freedom. It removes the option for parents to decide for themselves – in accordance with their own moral or Scriptural convictions – what is in the best interest of their children.
- While the State must intervene where physical violence or abuse is taking place, a statutory prohibition on physical correction in the home may create the situation that significant amounts of taxpayers’ money are misdirected into training interventions and court cases involving parents and families that are not at risk, when it should be directed towards those families and communities that are truly vulnerable and in need of such intervention.
FOR SA has prepared a template submission to assist people in commenting / objecting to the provisions of the Bill which will significantly and negatively impact on parental and religious rights. (For the template submission, follow the above link to the FOR SA document library and find it in the folder “Children’s Act Amendment Bill”.)