Parents use court orders to discipline children

THERE are concerns parents are using apprehended violence orders to discipline their children and manage difficult behaviour in centres such as Coffs Harbour.

According to an investigation published in national media, roughly three AVOs are taken out every day in New South Wales against children and Coffs Harbour has experienced a 300% rise in the number of youth AVOs filed in court since 2009.

In a trend that is concerning welfare workers and police, children as young as 10 are being slapped with court orders in an effort to curb behaviour such as going out late at night or challenging parental authority.

Last year, 1090 AVOs were issued against 10-year-olds to 17-year-olds in New South Wales, and two thirds were domestic-related.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said the number of young people appearing before a Children's Court on domestic violence offences, in which the complainant is a parent, was growing.

"In fact, this trend is increasing at a rate greater than any other age group," Commissioner Murdoch said.

"The reasons for this are unclear, however it is obvious parents are becoming more inclined to seek protection from their violent children through the courts than ever before."

The executive director of the Victims of Crime Assistance League, Robyn Cotterell-Jones, said parents were struggling to deal with a generation of children who do not obey authority and think violence is acceptable.

"You can't tell a teenager what to do any more. If they don't want to do it, they don't have to," Ms Cotterell-Jones said.

She has called for domestic violence lessons to be introduced as early as primary school.

Topics:  coffs harbour courts domestic violence

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