Parents won’t be arrested for failing to discipline children
Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
A parent has to be in a position to know that the child has committed a crime and failed to take action for them to be arrested for the crime, a fact-checking service has said.
This came after it disputed the claim that parents will be arrested for their minor child’s crimes calling it misleading and out of context. The claim was made by various publications and on social media following the passing of the Children’s Amendment Act No.8 of 2023. The report in the Zimbabwe media has been claiming that the new law will punish parents “who fail to discipline their children” leaving them to commit crimes.
The verdict of the fact-checking service, ZimFact Checkers has seen them reaching the verdict that the reports of the claims are misleading.
The law speaks about conducing to the commission of offense by a child with Section 13 of the Children’s Amendment Act outlining the provisions under which a parent or guardian can be arrested for the crimes of a child.
Among the offenses for which a parent or guardian will be arrested are encouraging a child to commit an offense, training a child to commit an offense and knowingly providing a child with facilities to commit an offense. What is also included in the new law is that parents or guardians will be arrested for failure to take reasonable steps to ensure that the child does not commit an offense where the parent or guardian is in a position to take such steps.
The parents or guardians shall be liable for the penalties that could have been imposed on them had they been guilty of the offense the child committed. They may also be ordered to pay any damages for personal injury or patrimonial loss proved in the course of the trial to have been caused to the injured party by the child.
This is removed from the misleading claim as it provides the context on the circumstances in which a parent or guardian is liable for crimes committed by their child.