10 Good Reasons to Change the Anti-Smacking Law – Reason #7 – ‘Helen’


When ‘Helen’ and her partner were investigated for disciplining their difficult 8 year old on the bottom after a particularly extreme situation (not the first time he had acted like this) ‘Helen’ unfortunately admitted to the police that over the past two to three years, she had smacked her son on a couple of occasions – but the last time she could recall doing was at least six months ago.

The District Court judge found them both guilty of assault. He acknowledged that mum had sought help and assistance many times – but said that the fact that the mother was not angry but that the smack was a ‘considered decision’ was an aggravating factor. As a result, ‘Helen’ could no longer work in her profession.

On appeal to the High Court, mum’s partner was (rightly) discharged without conviction on the basis of it being a ‘one-off incident in response to an extreme, highly unusual situation’ and that ‘it arose against a background where persistent efforts had been made to cope with the challenges presented.’  However, because of mum’s admission that she had occasionally used smacking in the past, her conviction was upheld in the High Court, because the judge said ‘it cannot be said it was a one-off incident’.

‘Helen’ appealed to the Court of Appeal – and won. They acknowledged that mum had ‘sought appropriate expert assistance … and had utilised a range of non-physical measures to address the child’s behaviour’ and that the actions were at ‘the lower end of the scale’.

Does ‘Helen’ sound like a “child abuser”? You’ll also chuckle when you hear what the community sentence was that they gave her.

Moral of the story? BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ADMIT, even if politicians say that non-abusive smacking is ok – and you think it is also.

“I had tried star charts. I’d taken things away from him. I’d tried rewards systems. I’d seen psychologists. I’d seen paediatricians.  I’d seen GP’s. I’d seen naturopaths. I’d seen everyone. I’d tried teachers. I tried to get advice – but nothing helped. And so I felt like I had nothing else in my power to try and help him… ” 
‘Helen’ (mother)


This tenth and final short clip is this week’s example of 10 Good Reasons to Change the Anti-Smacking Law.” WATCH ALL 10 REASONS.


At the very least, find out on our VALUE YOUR VOTE website which political parties will fix the law to protect good parents. CLICK HERE (question 28)

It’s time we held the politicians to account on a failed law which is doing more harm than good.

It’s time the politicians listened to YOU!

The future of this law may rest in your vote.