Children oppose physical discipline


A national survey of children's views on physical punishment, funded by Save the Children, is being done as the welfare organisation pushes to get smacking banned.

Save the Children chief executive John Bowis said preliminary results showed children opposed physical punishment and believed it often did not provide the results adults expected.

Save the Children wants the Government to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which provides a defence for parents to use physical punishment on their children provided the force is seen to be reasonable.

A Cabinet decision on whether section 59 should be repealed has been postponed until next year after concern that the public is divided on the issue.

"We believe it's unacceptable for children to be physically punished," Mr Bowis said.

"If we used the same sort of force for adults we could be convicted of assault and children shouldn't be treated differently than adults.

"There are better forms of discipline than physical punishment."

Mr Bowis said the research started three months ago and was conducted under the guidance of the children's issues centre at Otago University.

It was being done in various parts of the country to get an ethnic, socio-economic and rural-urban mix.