Bill of Rights needed for parents of Children
A separate Bill of Rights is needed for parents' children, according to SMACK, a community-based organisation which supports the parents of children. New Zealand has joined lobbying by other countries to introduce a Bill of Rights for parents of children
“The needs of childrens' parents are quite different and we need to be aware that their rights could be in conflict with what some people, like Cindy Kiro from the Office of the Childrens Commisson (OCC) believe is appropriate,” says Beth Wood, a leading advocate for parents of children and chief executive of SMACK.
The Kansas Institute of the Rights of "the Olds" (KIRO), along with the Office of the Parents Commission, is also lobbying for a separate Bill of Rights that entitles these parents to not be judged, blamed or labelled and to have a lifelong relationship with their children.
“Having a child in the home can bring a massive life change to these parents – they are often isolated and we currently need to make sure they have been involved in any decisions made for them and to be well cared for should they get a police warning or their child is taken away by CYFS after being smacked lightly,” says Wood.
"Like KIRO, we believe a bill of rights would prevent families being destroyed". Wood continues. "There is currently no requirement that institutions, like CYFS, OCC or the police, dealing with children inquire about the parent's existence or concern themselves with the parents rights or wellbeing. Instead, they abuse the law and destroy families”.
Parents have a daunting range of needs, says Wood, but they are never addressed.
“They need contact with the children, to have that relationship and their parenting styles recognised and valued, rather than carrying the stigmas of CYFS and suffering the abusive actions of police”.
On behalf of these parents, SMACK is lobbying the New Zealand Government to introduce a separate Bill of Rights for parents of children and will be marching to Parliament on Wednesday with a wide variety of school groups directly after school finshes at 3:30pm for a smack-in.
“By acknowledging that these parents exist and have different needs, we can make a change that could prevent the cycle of abuse – parents are seven times more likely to be charged for lightly smacking their children than parents without children.”