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Lawful Correction or Child Abuse: Clarifying the Boundaries, Sanctions and Decision-Making Surrounding the Physical Discipline of Children

53 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2013 Last revised: 19 Nov 2013

Renata Alexander

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Bronwyn Naylor

RMIT University - Graduate School of Business and Law; Monash University - Faculty of Law

Bernadette J. Saunders

Monash University

Date Written: October 6, 2011

Abstract

Parents and other adults responsible for children’s care and protection in Victoria are subject to inconsistent messages regarding the lawful limits of physical discipline, or corporal punishment. Different approaches are taken by civil, welfare, family and criminal courts, by different government agencies, and in different jurisdictions, producing confusion amongst professionals and the general public.

This collaborative research at Monash University between the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia), funded by the Legal Services Board, Victoria explores these sources of confusion and proposes policy and legislative reform, as well as professional education measures.

This Report presents the findings from an extensive review of reported Australian case law where physical punishment of a child has been discussed in some detail, in criminal law, family law and other jurisdictions, together with the perspectives of practising lawyers, magistrates and judges working in various jurisdictions who completed surveys or participated in interviews.

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Renata and Naylor, Bronwyn and Saunders, Bernadette J., Lawful Correction or Child Abuse: Clarifying the Boundaries, Sanctions and Decision-Making Surrounding the Physical Discipline of Children (October 6, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2322317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2322317

Renata Alexander

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Bronwyn Naylor (Contact Author)

RMIT University - Graduate School of Business and Law ( email )

Melbourne
Australia
+61 3 9925 1297 (Phone)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Bernadette Saunders

Monash University ( email )

Victoria 3800
Australia

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