Australian Doctors Push For Smacking Ban

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians wants to ban parents from smacking their children.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians wants to ban parents from smacking their children.Photo: ALAMY By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney 3:34PM BST 26 Jul 2013 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians says the ban would prevent child assaults and make smacking a social taboo. “If you hit your dog you could be arrested – but it’s legal to hit your child,” said Susan Moloney, the president of the college’s paediatrics and child health division. “We protect children with legislation around pool fences and not smoking in cars, for example We know that a significant number of child homicides are a result of physical punishment which went wrong.” But critics of the proposal said a ban on smacking would make parenting more difficult. “Parenting is difficult enough now without people proposing laws that would be impossible to police, and it wouldn’t take it any further,” said Barry O’Farrell, the premier of the state of New South Wales. Related Articles Australian PNG detention centre ‘gulag claim’ 25 Jul 2013 “Parents have difficult times in raising children. I think most parents do it bloody well, and we shouldn’t be trying to make it any more difficult for them.” Bernie Geary, the children’s commissioner in the state of Victoria, said existing laws were adequate and prevented abuse of children. “We don’t really have situations in courts where there is a confusion about the matter,” he told ABC News. “I think that a parent cannot claim to own a child and therefore needs to treat them with as much respect as people in the community are asked to treat each other.” The proposal drew a mixed public response, with some parents saying it would create confusion and be impossible to enforce.. “Is a little tap on the hand smacking?” a mother, Perri Rolfe , told the Illawarra Mercury. “I think it would be very hard for a doctor to determine what actually constitutes smacking. And it would be very hard to determine what happens behind closed doors.” But doctors said there were bans in 33 countries and they had been effective in preventing assaults of children. “There are many cases where discipline has got out of hand, all paediatricians see it,” said Professor Kim Oates, from the college’s paediatrics division. “Children have been killed by parents and suffered many broken arms and black eyes and severe bruising We want the law to bring a message saying there are more effective ways to discipline children and in our society smacking is something in the past.”

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