SALMON ARM - Two Salmon Arm parents have been found guilty of assault for disciplining their daughter with a hockey stick and a skipping rope.
According to court documents, the assaults happened in February 2015, after the 14-year-old girl’s father took away her cellphone because she’d renewed a relationship with a young man. The girl and her parents cannot be named to protect the complainant’s identity.
Despite not having her phone, the girl continued communications via an iPad. As a result, her father ordered her to hand over the iPad, after which he discovered messages referring to nude photos sent to the young man through Snapchat. The parents never actually saw the nude photos.
On Feb. 14, the father told his daughter she needed to respect herself and not throw herself at boys. On their way out to a hockey game, they discussed what form of punishment would be appropriate.
“The daughter understood that she would lose her electronics for a very long time; she would not be permitted to have guests over or go anywhere outside the house after school, and expected that she might be spanked. The daughter subsequently recalled that her father offered her two options: to be grounded for a really long time or to be spanked. She opted for the spanking because she did not want to be grounded as that would affect her sports activities,” judge E.F. De Walle said.
In court, the father testified that she was given a choice and chose to be spanked. He used a plastic mini hockey stick to hit her on the buttocks, and said the "amount of force used was not unreasonable in the circumstances." After the spanking, the girl’s mother entered the garage.
“He suggested to the mother that she should also spank their daughter. The daughter was not given another choice at that time. The father testified he felt that because of the daughter’s actions the mother should also spank her so that the daughter would “get the gravity of her actions,’” De Walle said.
The mother used a skipping rope to hit the daughter’s buttocks and the father described the level of force as enough to "cause some discomfort."
“In cross-examination the father was questioned about his reasons for administering a spanking. He said that the daughter did not have the option of saying no to the options presented to her. He testified that his daughter’s act of texting nude pictures of herself was not an act that could go unpunished. He further testified that his actions were not about pain, but just a form of discipline,” De Walle said.
Two days after the spanking, the girl’s friends said they observed bruising on her body, De Walle said.
The judge said it was reasonable for the parents to be concerned their daughter was sending nude pictures, but concluded the spanking was "clearly not intended for educative or corrective purposes" and amounted to "excessive corporal punishment."
“To suggest that responding to such acts by a teenaged daughter, (14 going on 15 years), by spanking her with an object would be educative or corrective is simply not believable or acceptable by any measure of current social consensus,” De Walle said.
He found both parents guilty of assault with a weapon.
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