Does the punishment fit the crime?


An air force pilot smacks his 12 year old son who has been misbehaving.  Is this assault?  The Supreme Court of NSW does not think so.  Justice Peek said that the slaps delivered to the child leaving redness but no bruise were ‘not unreasonable’ for the purpose of correcting misbehaviour.  ‘Some levels of pain is permissible … the mere existence of red marks … does not prove unreasonable correction’.  The Australian Family Association said the ruling upheld a parent’s right to smack their child and Psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg agreed parents should not face charges for smacking but did suggest that other discipline techniques were more effective.  The Family Court has a slightly different mindset in that it regularly informs parties that no form of physical discipline is tolerated and will routinely make orders restraining parties from physically disciplining children.


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Suzi Cengarle

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