Chang­ing at­ti­tude to­wards chil­dren

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - AGENDA -

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

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