Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

Toronto Sun

Advocates want rules to be clear

Old-fashioned discipline tested in court

Toronto Sun, By KATHLEEN HARRIS, OTTAWA BUREAU, January 18, 2004

OTTAWA -- Spanking your kid could soon be a crime. In a landmark ruling this month, the Supreme Court of Canada will decide if a century-old law that allows parents and teachers to use physical force for discipline should be scrapped. The constitutionality of the so-called "spanking law" -- Section 43 of the Criminal Code that pits teachers and socially conservative family groups against child welfare advocates -- will be decided Jan. 30.

"The fact that a parent is bigger and stronger and Read More ..werful should not be a justification to strike a child," said Marvin Bernstein, a lawyer and policy development director for the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.

"It shouldn't be a problem to physically stop a child from harming another person or running out onto the street -- but that's different from striking or hitting or inflicting pain."

The CAS has joined a legal fight launched five years ago by the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law. The children's rights group wants Section 43 of the Criminal Code -- which was enacted in 1892 -- repealed on the grounds it discriminates by age, violates the human rights and security of children and fails to protect minors from abuse.

Bernstein believes it's time to send the message that violence against children -- whether it's a light tap on the buttocks or punishment with a "weapon" like a belt, stick or hairbrush -- is not acceptable.

Foundation lawyer Cheryl Milne said courts have had difficulty establishing what is "reasonable" corporal punishment. In some cases, courts have accepted discipline that results in bruising and broken teeth as "reasonable."

"It's hard to predict what falls within that section and it puts children at risk," she said.

The foundation lost its fight at the Ontario appeals court level, but hopes the Supreme Court of Canada will follow an international trend to outlaw physical force against children.

Eleven countries have passed a legal ban on parental-school corporal punishment, including Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Israel.

In Canada, a Decima Research poll released last fall showed 51% of Canadians believe parents should be banned from using corporal punishment, while almost 70% want to end provisions that allow teachers to use physical force.

Milne is opposed to even mild forms of spanking, but said those who want Section 43 repealed aren't seeking criminal charges slapped against any parent who taps a child on the behind. Prosecutorial guidelines could direct police officers and lawyers to avoid charges in those cases, she said.

But Darrel Reid, president of the B.C.-based Focus on the Family, worries that removing Section 43 will lead to a growing number of children being removed from their homes and parents being tossed in jail for "loving" discipline.

"Parents are the people who understand, know and love their children best. They're far better able to make responsible decisions about parenting their kids than lawyers or bureaucrats," he said.

"This is not about abuse ... It's basically turning all Canadian parents who use corrective physical discipline into criminals."

Carole Read More ..y, senior counsel with the federal justice department, said the government is defending the law as it stands because it protects only a "narrow" range of conduct.

"The federal government's position is that this kind of conduct is bad, we don't condone it, we don't advocate for it, but we also don't believe that type of conduct should attract the full force of the criminal law," she said.

Vic Toews, a Manitoba MP and former provincial attorney-general, said it would be "totally irresponsible" for the Supreme Court to tinker with the existing law. He warns that any physical contact could become an assault -- such as a teacher touching a disruptive student to remove him from the classroom.

That's why the Canadian Teachers Federation has joined the fight and some police officers are concerned about the outcome, he said.

But Ron Ensom, a former social worker with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario who co-authored a study on the impact of corporal punishment, called the law "archaic."

Mounting world evidence shows that physical punishment puts children at risk of depression, mental problems and violent behaviour, he said. "The law doesn't allow husbands to hit wives, the law doesn't allow employers to hit employees, the law doesn't allow correctional services staff to lash or harm prisoners. But the law in Canada allows parents and teachers, in the name of correction, to hit and hurt kids to teach them a lesson. That's not right."

Reid disagreed, insisting the move to quash Section 43 is like trying to kill a mosquito with a sledgehammer.

"This is a major and unwarranted intrusion into the lives of parents and kids across the country. Parents know what loving discipline is."

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Divorced Dads:
Shattering the Myths

Dr. Sandford L. Braver and Diane O'Connell

picture book Divorced dads: Shattering the Myths

This is the result of the largest federally funded 8 year study of the issues confronting parents and their children in the United States.

Shattering the Myths. The surprising truth about fathers, children and divorce. Read More ..

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Landmark Ruling Grants Father Custody of Children

PA News (U.K.), July 3, 2004

A key court decision to grant a father custody of his daughters after the mother flouted contact orders for four years was today welcomed by campaigners.

Fathers 4 Justice said that the High Court ruling was a vital victory and called for more judges to take a similar stance when faced with resistant parents.

The comments come after Mrs Justice Bracewell transferred the residence of two young girls to their father because the mother persistently refused him contact, despite court orders.  Read More ..

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.  Read More ..

Toxic Parents Study Australia

Sydney Morning Herald

The sins of the mothers

The Sydney Morning Herald
September 12, 2008

Wayne Warburton, a research fellow at Macquarie University's Children and Families Research Centre, said: "Mothers have a really powerful effect on the way their kids view the world and themselves, probably because kids spend Read More with their mothers, especially in the crucial early years." Dr Warburton asked 441 university students to fill out detailed questionnaires on the parenting styles of their mothers and fathers, and on their own patterns of thinking. He asked them to recall 72 parenting behaviours, including "making a child feel ashamed", being unloving or rejecting, and frequently telling the child they were stupid or would fail. He also asked questions designed to uncover destructive thinking patterns in the students, such as being "clingy" out of a fear of being abandoned. He found young adults were two-thirds as likely to develop unhelpful patterns of thinking if the toxic parenting they had experienced came from their father rather than their mother.   Read More ..

Canada Flag

Health Canada

Aggressive Girls
Overview Paper

This overview paper summarizes recent research on girls who exhibit aggressive and violent behaviours. It defines relevant terms, outlines factors which may contribute to girls' aggression and violence, and presents ideas for preventing these behaviours. A list of resources is also included. 2002, 13p.  Read More ..

A Not Very Funny Valentine

"The Vagina Monologues" are coming to a theater near you … again.
Eve Ensler's politically correct-feminist play is being dusted off on campuses and in communities around North America for production, often at taxpayer expense.

By Wendy McElroy
January 27, 2004

Since 1998, the play has been part of a drive to convert Feb. 14 from chocolates and Valentines to Vaginas and Violence.  Read More ..

Canadian Press - Youth / Child Incarceration rates - jails Canada

Canadian incarceration rate rises for first time in more than a decade

Canadian Press
November 21, 2007

OTTAWA - The number of Canadians behind bars rose in 2005-06 for the first time in a decade, as Read More ..ults were jailed while awaiting trial or sentencing.

However, the average number of young people aged 12 to 17 in custody on any given day continued a decline that began with adoption of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003.  Read More ..