Information from the Citizen's Advice Bureau:
Smack or Assault? ( 8.30.65.L6 )
Sunday, 08 April 2007
8.30.65.L6 Smack or assault?
Extent: JerseyMarch 1996Updated 30 November 2004 ---------------------------------------------------
In Jersey there is no clearly defined line between the lawful correction of a child and a criminal physical assault. The onus is on the prosecution to prove that the child was 'recklessly' harmed and the injuries were 'intentional'.
It is accepted that parents in Jersey are entitled to correct their child, and/or teachers or other persons having lawful control or charge of a child, to administer punishment to her/him.
When parents hit or slap a child enough to cause marks or bruising, they have definitely overstepped the mark. A slap is permissible, to use an implement (such as a belt) is not acceptable.
Cases of possible physical abuse are referred to the Children's Department. Each case is dealt with on its merits, there is close liaison between the Children's Department and the Police before prosecutions are brought.
Under Article 35 of the Children (Jersey) Law 2002, it is an offence for any person who is responsible for a child under the age of 16 to recklessly or intentionally:
cause any harm to that child
expose her/him to a risk of harm; or
neglect him in a manner likely to cause her/him harm.
Last Updated ( Friday, 08 June 2007 )
Now the story began like this:
On the 2nd April 2008 my husband witnessed my son attacking a girl in St Helier, pulling a garment of clothing from her, spitting in her face, hitting her and saying racially abusive comments to her. My husband pulled him into the car (as he was picking up him and a friend) disgusted by his behaviour. Not wanting to cause him humiliation in front of his friend and obviously because he was driving any correction for his behaviour was to be addressed at home (obviously dangerous to do this at that same time as driving as he may have been distracted from the road). On their return home my son's disgusting behaviour warranted a short sharp shock. My husband expressed his dissapproval of his behaviour and slapped him a couple of times. He left no marks or bruises on my son and he did not use any implement.
Now even though in general I do not approve of smacking children, in extreme circumstances occasionally this type of chastisement can be what is needed to nip in the bud the potentially dangerous and illegal behaviour committed by the child.
There is an extreme difference between an action such as this and the appauling institutional abuse cases that Senator Stuart Syvret is working around the clock to ensure justice for the victims. One day i truely hope that will happen. My mother and my aunts were 'brought up' in the Sacre Coeur, my mother whilst in the States run Creche, had the top of her finger chopped off by a staff member, and in HDLG - where they hold a number of not so nice memories of their childhood. One can only imagine the fear they had to live with, with no one to turn to but each other. My brother has also experianced the 'not so kind care' of a current civil servant et al. at Les Chenne in the 80's. A number of years after he said to me 'I knew I had won when I saw fear in his eyes' (about the current civil servant). Although he has never blamed the way he was treated with the way he turned out - what his statement says to me is that he was once a frightened little boy.
Anyway back to the story - Can you be found guilty of causing harm to a child by slapping, leaving no marks and not using an implement? - Yes especially when you are trying (but not getting anywhere) to complain that they (Social Services) have broke the law and kidnapped your children and also did not follow their own procedures in obtaining evidence.
Now I know not all Social Workers should be tarred and feathered, there are some very nice ones. For example I did actually like one of them, when I asked him if my children were kidnapped to meet some sort of office targets - you must get 3 kids this week - he kindly informed me that yes they did actually get targets. I thought I was joking...... appears not.
I also asked how come they managed to return one home but not the other and asked if it was because one was nicer looking than the other, cute, blond hair, blue eyes.... This was asked because in the 60's they were quite fond of forcibly adopting babies especially those children of the children from the homes and my aunt's baby was given to a convicted paedophile. Unfortunately he offered no comment to this question. Very soon after he left the job.
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