INFORMATION:

The call for comments on the revised draft of the CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BILL, 2018 (“the Bill”) is now open until 29 November 2018. (For the Bill, follow the above link to our document library, select the folder “Children’s Act Amendment Bill”, and see the “Children’s Amendment Bill – Nov 2018”.)

Most notably, from a parental rights and freedom of religion perspective, section 7 of the Bill specifically proposes that “any punishment, within the home or other environment, in which physical force or action is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or harm to the child”, be unlawful.

In plain language, the Bill aims to make any form of physical discipline by a parent – no matter how light or well-intentioned – illegal and potentially subject to criminal prosecution for assaulting a child, to which there will be no defence in law.

FOR SA therefore encourages broad public participation – through the submission of written comments – on the Bill, with the following main objections in mind:

1) Existing law (including the Children’s Act, the Domestic Violence Act, and the common law offence of “assault”) already provides firm and adequate protection against child abuse and violence. The amendment, however, poses a severe threat to parental rights and religious freedom.  It removes the option for parents to decide for themselves – in accordance with their own moral or Scriptural convictions – what is in the best interest of their children.

2) While the State must intervene where physical violence or abuse is taking place, a statutory prohibition on physical correction in the home may create the situation that significant amounts of taxpayers’ money are misdirected into training interventions and court cases involving parents and families that are not at risk, when it should be directed towards those families and communities that are truly vulnerable and in need of such intervention.

 

 

Written submissions must be received by Thursday, 29 November 2018 and can be emailed to Matlhogonolo Sebopela (MatlhogonoloS@dsd.gov.za) and/or Luyanda Mtshotshisa (LuyandaMt@socdev.gov.za).

Please visit FOR SA’s website and download / use the TEMPLATE SUBMISSION we have prepared to assist you in commenting / objecting to the provisions of the Bill which will significantly and negatively impact on parental and religious rights. (For the template submission, follow the above link to our document library and find it in the folder “Children’s Act Amendment Bill”.)