Sunday, August 02, 2009

Physically punishing a child with a smack (or a kick) is NOT against the law, says senior British judge

Nasty social workers lose one for a change

Parents can slap and even kick their children when chastising them, a senior judge said yesterday. The remarks at the Appeal Court are the first time the courts have drawn a line at which the ' reasonable' point of punishing children becomes physical abuse. Lady Justice Hallett said: 'Reasonable physical chastisement of children by parents is not yet unlawful in this country.

'Slaps and even kicks vary enormously in their seriousness. A kick sounds particularly unpleasant, yet many a parent may have nudged their child's nappied bottom with their foot in gentle play, without committing an assault. 'Many a parent will have slapped a child on the hand to make the point that running out into a busy road is a dangerous thing to do.'

She was ruling in a case in which a local authority had wanted to take three children into care after allegations of abuse. The judges upheld a lower court decision that while one child had been slapped and kicked, she had not suffered 'significant harm' and the children could stay with their parents.

Lord Justice Ward said no marks had been seen on the child and she appeared to be well nourished, well cared for and with close attachments to her parents.

Ruling he said: 'The harm must, in my judgment, be significant enough to justify the intervention of the State and disturb the autonomy of the parents to bring up their children by themselves in the way they chose.'

Under current law it is illegal for a parent to hit a child if it leaves a bruise. However, a lighter smack or 'reasonable chastisement' is allowed.

But those who want smacking banned said the judge's comments underlined why a law change was needed. Phillip Noyes, of the NSPCC, said: 'These comments are unhelpful and cloud the clear message to parents that hitting and kicking children is always wrong. 'Changing the law to make physical punishment of children illegal would provide a clear basis for child protection and the promotion of alternative forms of discipline. 'Currently the law in the UK on hitting is confusing and leaves children of all ages vulnerable to abuse. 'It is a national embarrassment that the UK is one of only five remaining EU countries which have not given children equal protection under the law on assault or committed to doing so.'

Kevin Barron, Labour chairman of the all-party Commons Health Committee, said the judge's remarks made a 'good case' to ban smacking by law. Adding that there was too much room for doubt, he said: 'We should do what other civilised countries have done and make it unlawful.'


The British Left's attack on families

Straight out of Karl Marx's rule book

Some middle income families would be nearly £10,000 a year better off if the parents were to split up, according to research. The growing penalty that Labour’s taxes and benefits pile on to couples who stick together is bearing down increasingly hard on families with middle range earnings, it found. A husband and wife with two children and earning nearly £35,000 a year between them – well above the average income – are now the biggest losers for keeping their family together. If they were to live apart they would be better off by £186 a week – an increase in the money they can spend of nearly 60 per cent.

The analysis of the price that couples must pay for staying together was carried out by the charity Care, based on tax and benefit tables produced by the Department for Work and Pensions. It showed that the notorious ‘couple penalty’ which Labour has built into the benefits system is growing and that, increasingly, it is putting pressure on people on middle incomes to break up with their partner or to avoid living together with them in the first place.

The couple penalty – mainly caused by Labour’s flagship tax credit benefits, which are heavily biased in favour of single parents – is now coming under political criticism. Tories have promised to even up benefit rules so that couples are no longer much worse off than single parents. Labour MP and former welfare reform minister Frank Field said yesterday: ‘It is vital that we find a way of addressing welfare need without creating perverse incentives for the parents of children on low to modest incomes to live apart.’

The benefit bias against couples has usually been thought to act to persuade people on the lowest incomes to stay single. The high penalties now being imposed on middle income couples suggest that growing numbers of middle class people may now be affected by financial pressure to live without a husband, wife or partner.

The Care analysis was based on the taxes and benefits that would be paid by 98 couples on different earnings and with different numbers of children. It found that 76 out of the 98 would be better off apart, up from 75 families in a similar analysis last year. On average, they would be better off apart by £68 a week. The average cost to the Treasury – and taxpayers – of extra benefits to a couple who choose to live apart is £8,007, up four per cent on last year’s cost to taxpayers.

The worst losers from staying together are a couple with two children who live in private rented accommodation. If one earns £520 and the other £150, and they have child care costs of £120 a week, the couple can expect to have a disposable income of £308 a week after they have paid tax and claimed due benefits. But if they broke up and lived in two different rented flats, their joint disposable income would rise to £494 a week.

A typical couple among the 98 cases examined would have a disposable income of £303 a week – but if they parted and claimed the £68 couple penalty they would be more than 20 per cent better off.

Nola Leach, Care’s chief executive, said: ‘It is very disappointing to see that, far from being eroded, the number of families negatively impacted by the couple penalty has actually increased for the third year in a row. ‘Rather than using taxpayers’ money to create fiscal incentives that make it more likely that children will grow up in a home with only one resident parent, we should at the very least ensure that parents are not disadvantaged by living together under the same roof with their children.’


Gutless British "rescuers"

Nobody must ever take any risks in Britain -- even if people die as a result (!!???). Just don't have an accident in Britain. Those whose job it is may well refuse to help you if it is likely to inconvenience them at all

Police, firemen and paramedics refused to go to the aid of an accident victim who was drowning in just 18 inches of water... because they believed it was too dangerous. A senior fire officer banned his men from using ropes and ladders to climb down a 15ft bank to the victim after carrying out a ‘risk assessment’.

Acting on advice, ten police officers who attended the emergency also failed to rescue father-of-three Karl Malton, 32, as he lay face down in the shallow water.

His body lay there for three hours after a decision was made to send for a ‘water rescue team’ based more than 50 miles away. When relatives arrived at the scene, they found emergency workers standing around drinking tea.

An inquest into Mr Malton’s death yesterday heard that officers no longer have to swim or receive life-saving training.

Last night Mr Malton’s father Peter branded the emergency services’ response to the tragic accident as ‘unacceptable’.

The case has prompted fresh controversy over how health and safety restrictions are preventing the emergency services from fulfilling their most basic duties. The issue flared up two years ago after another inquest heard how two police community support officers stood by while a ten-year-old boy drowned in a pond in Wigan.

Yesterday’s inquest in Spalding, Lincolnshire, heard that Mr Malton, a mechanic, was hit by a car as he walked along an unlit country road near his home in Crowland just after 11pm on May 13 last year.

The driver pulled up and dialled 999 but was told to stay in his car and not try to find the victim. Paramedic Sonya Lawrence arrived within 14 minutes but began to search on the nearside of the car, although it was damaged on the offside. Another 19 minutes later a second ambulance crew arrived and found Mr Malton, who had been thrown unconscious into the dyke by the collision. He was lying face down in the water and appeared to be dead. Paramedic Fergus White climbed over a barrier before deciding it was too dangerous to go down the bank.

‘If we had access to him we would have carried out resuscitation but we had no access,’ he said. ‘The bank was very steep and unstable.’ Mr White admitted that he could not be ‘100 per cent sure’ that Mr Malton was dead. After a further 28 minutes a team of firemen arrived and set up ladders and ropes on the bankside but were ordered to stop by senior officer Edward Holliday. Mr Holliday said: ‘I made the assessment that it would be inadvisable to enter the dyke until a properly trained and prepared crew arrived.’

He called in a water rescue team from Lincoln, more than 50 miles away. Mr Malton’s body was finally recovered using a boat at 2.18am, more than three hours after the crash.

A post-mortem examination revealed that he had drowned but could not determine how long he had been in the water before dying. The inquest was told he would have been dead within ten minutes of entering the water. Deputy Boston coroner Paul Cooper recorded a verdict of accidental death .

Mr Malton’s father Peter said in a statement: ‘Irrespective of the coroner’s verdict about the actual cause and timing of my son’s death the fact remains that he was lying at the bottom of a ditch for three hours. ‘Whether he was dead or alive at the time does not alter the distress caused to the family.’ The family are now preparing a civil action for damages, while police, fire and ambulance services are all reviewing their procedures as a result of the tragedy.


Australian Centre/Left government firmly against "same-sex marriage"

THE Rudd government will consider the registration of gay and lesbian partnerships but will not budge on civil unions.

Advocates of same-sex marriage are holding rallies across the country to call for a change in Australian laws. In Sydney, rally organisers expect possibly thousands of people to march from Town Hall to the ALP national conference at Darling Harbour, where they will demand that gay and lesbian couples be allowed to marry. It is expected more than 60 couples will illegally wed outside the conference venue. Similar ceremonies are being held elsewhere. The issue is due to be debated on the floor of the conference on Saturday morning.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland indicated the government was firm in its position. "We are committed to marriage as being defined as between a man and a woman," Mr McClelland told reporters. "The bottom line is that any outcome must recognise that marriage is between a man and a woman; that won't change. "We have indicated we support a nationally consistent framework, consistent with Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT, and they don't support a civil union."

The ACT last year shelved plans to enshrine same-sex civil unions in law after pressure from the Rudd government. Same-sex partnerships can be registered in the ACT but it is believed the Stanhope government is considering if there are ways it can go further.

In its draft national platform, the ALP says it "will take action to ensure the development of nationally consistent, state-based relationship recognition legislation". But it notes the legislation will not "create schemes that mimic marriage or undermine existing laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman".



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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