Amanda Watson
News Editor
3 minute read
19 Sep 2019
6:00 am

Hands off your child or face a jail sentence

Amanda Watson

Physically disciplining a child, even threatening them with a hiding, can land a parent with a criminal record, or even in prison, with an assault conviction.

Parent or teacher uses a ruler to hit a child's hand for punishment. Picture: iStock

“It is necessary to emphasise that, in terms of our law, the application of force, including a touch depending on its location and deductible meaning, or a threat thereof constitutes assault,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said yesterday in the unanimous judgment he handed down. “And parental authority or entitlement to chastise children moderately and reasonably has been an escape route from prosecution or conviction.” Justice Mogoeng said how law enforcement agencies dealt with reported cases of child abuse following the judgment, was “best left to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.” Attorney Daniela Ellerbeck for Freedom of Religion South...