Canberra Times, June 16, 2000

Mother admits assaulting kids, put on bond
By Katharyn Heagney

[AUSTRALIA] A Canberra woman accused of assaulting her 11-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter was told it was not easy being a parent, but that her disciplinary actions had gone beyond reasonable punishment, the ACT Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

The woman, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, and dangerous driving.

The court heard the mother of three had been getting the children ready for school on May 1, when her son had refused one of her requests and pushed her. She had then pushed him and, after a struggle, sat on him and held his neck to the floor.

The court heard the daughter had then entered the room and asked her mother to stop, but had been hit on the back of the head by the accused.

Police alleged the son had then left the house and hidden beneath a bush further down the street, where he was later found by his sister. Police said the children had then seen their mother's vehicle approaching them and believed if they had not stepped out of the way, she would have hit them.

Police said the boy suffered bruising and scratches.

The woman's defence counsel told the court the woman was merely trying to hold her large son to the ground until his temper had subsided.

She said the woman had felt threatened by the boy.

When the son had left the house with the family pet, the woman had sent her daughter to find him, and followed in the car. After finding them, she had hastily parked her vehicle, but had no intention of knocking the children over or harming them with the car, defence counsel said.

The woman had later hugged her children and apologised.

Magistrate Lisbeth Campbell said this was a difficult cases because on the surface it appeared extremely serious, until the background of the case was heard.

"I am not condoning in any way, a parent assaulting a child," she said. "Children must feel safe when they are at home.

"But until one has had children, one might struggle with how easy it is to lose control."

She said she accepted this incident was isolated, and that it was not typical of the woman's parenting conduct.

"I don't think any of us think being a parent is an easy job . . . but on this occasion you have been pushed too far."

She put the woman on a $1000, 18-month good-behaviour bond and ordered her to pay a $300 fine.

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