Monday, December 07, 2009

Does CYFS think a smack is abuse?

CYFS working definition of abuse is:
an act or act that results in inflicted injury to a child or young person.
It may include, but is not restricted to bruises and welts, cuts and abrasions, fractures or sprains, head, abdominal or internal organ injuries, strangulation or suffocation, poisoning, burns or scalds.

The statutory definition of abuse is :
The harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person
This means that legislation considers abuse as harm, whereas CYFS working definition states " inflicted injury", and goes on to say in the latest smacking report that CYFS does not believe that smacking constitutes physical abuse, whereas the Office of the Children's Commissioner does.

But a light smack can cause harm, because it hurts. If it doesn't hurt, why smack? An inflicted injury is something more than just harm. No wonder social workers don't know whether a smack constitutes abuse. CYFS management are giving mixed messages, telling their staff that a smack is abusive, but telling the public that it is not.

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December 9, 2009 at 8:10 AM  

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