A HERVEY Bay mum who smacked her teenage son with a cane has found herself in court charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.
The 32-year-old, who cannot be named to avoid identifying her son, said she was shocked to find the police at her doorstep one day after she smacked her son on the legs with a bamboo stick.
She has now been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm while armed with an offensive instrument, an indictable offence that must be dealt with in the District Court.
“I couldn't believe it,” the mother of three said.
“I'm a sole parent.
“He's nearly 16 and 103 kilos.
“I just smacked him with a piece of bloody bamboo stick.”
She says the teenager threatened to run away from home and when she caught him stealing food from the fridge, she reached out and grabbed the “first thing I could find” to smack him with.
It was a long, thin stick that her younger son uses when practising his karate.
The item has since been deemed a “weapon” and seized by police.
“They told me you're not allowed to smack your kids with an implement and it has to be on a fleshy part of the body,” the mum said.
“But, they said, ignorance was no excuse.
“It's ridiculous. It's smacking your own son and ending up in court charged with assault.”
The woman said she was smacked by her own parents when she was growing up.
“I got smacked with a wooden spoon when I was younger and it made you think twice about mucking up.
“And there's a lack of respect these days with teenagers.
“I wish the magistrate could see him – he towers over me and I'm meant to have assaulted him.”
A bail condition ordered that she have no contact with her son, but that condition was removed in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to allow the teenager to return home.
He now lives with a relative but goes home on weekends.
“Hopefully he'll come home after this is over,” the Pialba woman said.
“We are on talking terms.
“I see him on weekends and we play games ... he even baked me a cake last weekend.”
Defence lawyer Justin Geldard said assault charges against parents would continue to rise in accordance with society's greater emphasis on children's rights.
He said the woman had not yet decided how to plea to the charge, but said if she opted to plead not guilty the matter could still be before the courts in 12 months' time.
“I didn't want to plead guilty because I acknowledge that I smacked him but I didn't assault him,” the mum said.
She will face the Hervey Bay District Court at a date to be set.
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