Changing attitude towards children
SIR, – My late father, Robert Ovenstone, spent 27-and-a-half years as a woodwork instructor at the Robert Gough Centre in Leven and I, therefore, make no apologies for supporting the Equal Protection From Assault Bill on the grounds of consistency.
If he had hit or smacked any of the vulnerable adults under his care he would have lost a job he loved along with the respect he had in the community – as community council chairman, Sunday school superintendent, church elder – as it likely would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Thankfully, he retired at the age of 65 and those he worked with are among the most appreciative and contented you’re likely to meet.
However, when he got home
from work he had a legal defence of “reasonable chastisement” or “justified assault” against his own son as a parent. Seriously?
My late mother, Sheila Ovenstone, worked as a Sunday school teacher as well as earlier working for Barnardo’s and would not have got away with hitting or smacking any of the children or, indeed, when they fostered but, bizarrely, could do so to their own son which simply does not make any sense to me.
While my mother did indeed smack me, it was apparent to both myself and the community that she was a loving parent who lived out her Christian faith.
Hopefully, with a little common sense and no need to feel we must run to the police or social services over every lightly smacked hand or bottom, then this Bill will do what it designed to do and change attitudes over the acceptable treatment of children. Especially
if everyone remembers that with rights come responsibilities. Thomas Peter Ovenstone, Orchard Grove, Peterhead