New Zealand has become the first English-speaking country to introduce legislation against physical punishment
Research has played an important role in providing an evidence base for the reform process in New Zealand. Childwatch key member The Children's Issues Centre was at the fore-front of this work. They provided an evidence based and child-focused approach to the issue highlighting the detrimental impact that physical punishment could have on children. Legislation was passed in May 2007.
New Zealand has joined the small group of 23 other countries who currently prohibit the use of physical punishment by parents. Children were finally given equal protection under the law against family violence. Legal reform to remove the defence provided by the previous law in New Zealand (Section 59) means that parents who are now prosecuted for assaulting their children can no longer invoke the excuse that the force they used was reasonable in the circumstances and for the purpose of correcting their child. The University-based research , education and advocacy centre, The Children's Issues Centre has helped support the drive to change the law and protect children's physical integrity and rights. (Journal of the Children's Issues Centre, Vol 12, No. 2 2008)
Main contact: Dr Nicola Taylor
Email: nicola.taylor [at] otago.ac.nz
Other Resources on Ending Corporal Punishment of Children
The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children includes in its website a page on research where research studies about the effects of corporal punishment.