Precisely worded smacking legislation?

There’s been a difficult smacking case in the news – Parents’ hell after choice to strap child – which ended up Smacking conviction overturned on appeal. It was a very difficult family situation where the mother was “convicted after they strapped their 8-year-old son, over his pyjamas”.

Anti-smacking law critics say the case is an example of good parents being criminalised, contrary to assurances from politicians when the law came in.

Family First director Bob McCroskie says…

…the case involved an extremely difficult child for whom the mother had repeatedly sought help, but none was available. He says there is a lack of support for parents who are struggling.

I’m sure he’s right there.

Mr McCroskie also says…

…the legislation is confused and needs to be precisely worded.

First point, this prosecution could have happened under the old version of the law.

And second – how can a smacking law be worded precisely so it caters for every varied situation? Does McCroskrie think the law should specify that any smacking using a belt is legal? Any smacking using any device or implement? Where would he precisely draw the line?

Even the word “smack” is imprecise. It could be used to refer to a tap on a nappied bum. It could also be used to describe a smack over the head with a four by two.

I don’t see how smacking laws will ever be able to be precise.

Smacking will always require discretion by parents. And police.

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