Saturday, June 27, 2009

Barnardos asks kids about smacking, and lies about the research

Barnardos have been interviewing children by phone to see what they think about getting smacked. The question they asked
Do you think that adults who are taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child?
Well, of course they shouldn't unless they were their caregivers. The kids had to push 1 if they should be let off 2 if they think they should not be let off, 3 if they don't know and 4 to hear the question again. Just over half said they should not be let off. Many probably didn't understand what " let off" meant- left off convicting is the assumption.Nor is it clear whether "adults" included strangers.

They interviewed stressed kids who called the Whats Up hotline, a hotline for kids to talk about anything they wish, including abuse. While the kid was waiting to speak to a real person, they were given an automated message with the above question. That's a little like asking turkeys on the 15 December whether they are looking forward to Christmas. There was only a 10% valid response rate.

Barnardos' media release says it asked kids about whether adults should be able to claim a legal defence for assault.

They lied. They asked if adults should be let off.But if these adults are not parents or caregivers of the smacked kid they never had a legal defence, ever. Let off means a case is dropped or they're discharged without conviction - not merely being found not guilty. The release also says:
Importantly, many of the callers suggested that parents should be let off with a warning or community service if they perpetrated low levels of violence against children.
How many? well,just one actually. The report provides all comments provided by the kids - quoting just 10 children, although it does provide some statements that counsellors said the kids had made. But only one said parents should be let off with a warning, and none said parents should be charged, let alone prosecuted or have community service.

Barnardos should really stop lying to the media. Imagine if they had asked this question.
If a child was having a tantrum in the supermarket, knocking down tins in the process, and a parent gave them a smack to cut it out, should that parent be let off if they are taken to court?
My response - which no doubt wouldn't have been one of the options:why should they even be charged and prosecuted let alone taken to court if they haven't broken the law sufficient enough to warrant sanctions?

More here

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Anonymous toad said...

davec, I’ll accept that the reporting of this survey by Barnardos, and the survey question itself, is not perfect.

In fact, it is about the same standard of wording and reporting as the various surveys that Family First have relied on in their campaign to reintroduce a justification defence for the use of force against children for the purpose of correction - probably slightly better.

At least Barnardos release linked to the full survey information so people could form their own opinions on the validity - most of those relied upon by FF and the “no-voters” don’t even do that.

June 28, 2009 at 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Mr Dennis said...

I had a good look at this report too, and I noticed that in the comments, many children were opposed to "hitting", but specifically said they were not opposed to "smacking". 19 children are quoted, 11 of which thought smacking or light force was OK (although "hitting" may not be), and 8 disagreed.

Barnados' headline on their press release about it ("Smacking - It's wrong, full stop say children") is a blatant lie, as that is not what the children said at all.

Toad - I'm happy to accept the reports findings too, I'll believe Barnados that this is what a bunch of stressed kids ringing WhatsUP said. And I believe them when they report the kids ACTUALLY said smacking was OK.

June 29, 2009 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

You'll find that under current law you can smack a child if they pose a physical danger to themselves e.g. knocking over tins in a supermarket.

Police have been provided with the power of discretion over complaints and this matter would not meet with a charge, let alone prosecution, let alone a court appearance.

a) The law is working and you have nothing to complain about.
b) You're understanding of the issue is so limited you're unable to provide an example supporting your opinion.

June 30, 2009 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Swimming said...

Firstly, I better sate my opinion so you actually know what it is. Later I may even discuss my understanding of the law in case I get accused of having little knowledge of that law.

My opinion is that people should be able - to have the option of smacking lightly within the law. Why on earth would I need an example to "support" my opinion - other than the other day my mate smacked his kid and was breaking the law. Is that a good enough example for you? Do tell.

June 30, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

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