Children First Bill 2014
First Stage: 21 Oct 2015
Oireachtas Link: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/seanad2015102100002?opendocument#A00100
Report and Final Stages: 21/10/2015
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Children First Bill 2014: Report and Final Stages
Senator Ivana Bacik: I welcome the Minister and the groups and individuals in the Visitors Gallery who are present to witness the Bill go through. I wholeheartedy welcome these two amendments. I say well done to Senator Jillian van Turnhout and congratulate her on her tenacity in pursuing this issue. That has brought us to this day when we see this historic Bill being passed, in particular for the reason that it will abolish the ancient and very much outdated defence of reasonable chastisement.
Senator Moloney rightly spoke about the cultural change that will undoubtedly be consolidated and strengthened by the passage of the Bill. I am also a parent of young children. That cultural change has happened. It is now seen as very much unacceptable to physically chastise a child. We have come to realise that there is nothing reasonable about physical chastisement, despite that outdated term we still use. It is really good to see the law catching up with this, the Minister accepting the amendments and the Bill being passed. I commend the Minister and his officials on their work in taking the amendments and getting Government support for them.
This morning the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality had hearings on the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill. We heard from children's rights groups on the protection of the rights of child victims of crime. The Bill is very much in keeping with that overall framework of laws in which we are providing greater protection of children's rights and the rights of child victims of crime. The laws are within the overarching framework of the children's rights amendment that we passed successfully some years ago, as referred to by other Members. As leader of the Labour Party group, I wish to add my words of support and commendation. I congratulate Senator van Turnhout for her work on this Bill. I thank the Minister, in particular for using the Seanad in this way. As other speakers have said, it is a good day for the Seanad when we see Private Members' amendments accepted by the Government in the House and for Bills to be strengthened and improved as a result.