World Expert on Child Correction Coming to NZ

Family First NZ, with the support of For the Sake of Our Children Trust and Sensible Sentencing Trust, is bringing to New Zealand ROBERT E. LARZELERE PhD, Associate Professor of the Psychology Dept. Human Development & Family Science at Oklahoma State University to present the dangers of the ‘Anti-Smacking’ Bill on the important role of parents and the well-being of our children.

Dr Larzelere will be in NZ the week of the next vote on the Bradford / Clark ‘Anti-Smacking’ Bill (May 2nd). This is an important vote because the sensible amendment of MP Chester Borrow’s (which substantially lowers the definition of what is ‘reasonable’ without criminalising good parents who give light smacks) will be voted on. 

Dr Larzelere has been one of the world’s foremost experts on the research on child correction outcomes for the past 30 years – including:
• One of three social scientific expert witnesses on the side of successfully defending a similar section to NZ’s s59 of Canada’s Criminal Code.
(The social scientific expert witnesses on the other side included Joan Durrant. Durrant has been painted as the authority on smacking bans in NZ yet was ignored in her own country!)
• Member of Task Force on Corporal Punishment – American Psychological Association.
• One of 7 experts invited to present at 1996 Scientific Consensus Conference on the Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Corporal Punishment – co-sponsored by American Academy of Pediatrics .

His expertise will help answer the following questions regarding the Anti-Smacking Parental Correction debate:
1. what is the sound scientific evidence on the benefits / harms of smacking?
2. how does appropriate smacking compare with other forms of parental correction in terms of short-term and long-term outcomes?
3. do smacking bans reduce child abuse according to international experience?

He has written over 70 research papers on this topic including :
•  Comparing child outcomes of physical punishment and alternative disciplinary tactics : A meta-analysis.
•  Sweden’s Smacking Ban: More harm than good .
(Refutes research presented by Joan Durrant which has been used as evidence for repealing s59 by NZ’s Children’s Commissioner, UNICEF, Barnados, Plunket and other groups supporting repeal.)
•  Children and Violence in the Family: Scientific Contributions – A Submission to the UN Global Study on Children and Violence

He is also a Member of the following professional organisations :
American Psychological Association
APA Task Force on Corporal Punishment
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy
Association for Psychological Science
And the National Council on Family Relations



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