Anger, sympathy for dad's assault on daughter

DESPERATE SEARCH: Two missing Rockhampton girls are threatening to consume a cocktail of drugs.
DESPERATE SEARCH: Two missing Rockhampton girls are threatening to consume a cocktail of drugs. Thinkstock

SMACKING is once more a topic of public discussion after a Gladstone father was earlier this month convicted of assault for pushing his daughter while she was said to be misbehaving.  

The father, 35, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to assault occasioning bodily harm, which police declared a domestic violence offence.  

The court heard the father was frustrated with his 16-year-old daughter's behaviour and pushed her, causing her to fall.  

She was left with minor bruises and grazing.  

The story left The Observer's online readers divided.  

"I feel for parents these days. Kids have been (allowed to) get away with too much. (You) can't give them a smack, can't do this, can't do that. It is just crazy," Desley Turner said.  

Wayne Couch said when parents had no rights on how they raised their kids, there was a problem with the law.   

But Suz Williams had a different perspective.  

"There is absolutely no excuse for domestic violence, full stop," she said.  

Mya Mamala Downer said the man would not have been charged and pleaded guilty if his actions were not serious.  

The story raised the question: when does discipling children cross the line and become abuse?

According to Queensland law, a parent or caregiver can use "reasonable" force for "correction, discipline, management or control" of a child.  

Smacking is allowed, while actions like punching, strangling, kicking, biting and throwing would generally be seen as unreasonable uses of force.  

Smacking a child in the face or head is illegal.  

In New South Wales law, the age and maturity of the child are considered with regards to what amount of force is reasonable.   

This is not the case in Queensland.  

Interestingly, Queensland law allows corporal punishment of students in schools, however it's been banned in state schools since 1995.  

A News Corp poll last year found 91.29% of respondents thought smacking children was okay, while 8.71% thought smacking was never justified.

*For 24-hour support in Queensland phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, MensLine on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT  on 1800 737 732.

Topics:  parenting smacking

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