"Picture this: a child at the centre of a custody battle comes back from an access visit. Mum questions the child: Did Daddy smack you? Has Daddy ever smacked you? The child says yes. Mum takes the child to the police station. She is vocal and upset. "Investigate" sounds benign. It is not.Do not underestimate how much children are used as pawns in the battle between embittered former spouses. It happens enough already. Repealing Section 59 will open a whole new front, to the detriment of the very children Sue Bradford should be trying to help.
That child will be put through the evidential interview process. It's not a process you want your child involved in. Dad will be asked to go to the police station to make a statement. All this will probably be good for lawyers. Probably no charges will be laid, but the child and the family will have been through a traumatic and damaging experience."
Monday, March 26, 2007
One Hand Smacking - Reprise
Lawyer Michele Wilkinson-Smith has an excellent guest column in the Herald regarding Section 59. She posits a very real consequence of removing the reasonable force provision of the Crimes Act; messy custody battles: