Father charged with assault after allegedly brushing his son’s teeth with so much force, the boy’s gums bled.

We originally shared this story on the 6th December, see below for an update after dad appears in court to face charges.

Original story… It is alleged the Perth father grabbed the teenage boy by the back of his neck and led him to the bathroom, where he then forcibly brushed the teenaged boy’s teeth, reports 7 news.

According to police, the man is facing three counts of aggravated common assault.

The man’s lawyers say they are now in negotiations with police to have the charges discontinued.

“I find (the charges) extraordinary, and it is legal in Western Australian for parents to apply physical force to correct the child as long as it’s reasonable and proportionate,” lawyer Nicole Young said.

“So I can’t really understand how the police decided to bring these charges.”

A police spokesperson said officers are obligated to investigate all assault complaints.

Last week a family Court decision sparked debate over when the line between discipline becomes abuse when it comes to punishing children.

A father, who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat leaving them with bruises and welts, has been granted unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son.

Under the NSW Crimes Act, “the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child’s age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child’s head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm “for more than a short period”, is not considered reasonable.”

Earlier this year a father’s conviction for smacking his 12-year-old son was overturned, with a court ruling that causing pain during discipline does not “transform” a parent into a criminal.

As a mum of boys, I can totally imagine what lead this father to such drastic measures. Boys can be such grots!  But I am definitely not condoning his method. There are far better ways of getting the job done rather than getting physical with the boy.

UPDATE 10 Jan 2017

Steve Lawrence has pleaded not guilty to three counts of common aggravated assault, with his lawyer stating he’ll “vigorously defend the charges”.

Mr Lawrence doesn’t deny he did it, but says his son refused to brush his teeth and believed he acted with reasonable force, reports 7 news.

The 36-year-old is also charged with allegedly dragging his eight-year-old son to his room and locking him in after a tantrum.

Mr Lawrence was granted bail, on the condition he stays at least 50 metres away from his two sons.

He will face court again on March 7.

Do you think this father crossed the line?

Share your comments below.

Image via Getty

  • if the kis hadn’t been brushing his teeth then the gums would bleed quite easily, i have made my children rebrush their teeth until i was satisfied while i wat hed them. I get the frustration, teenagers can be jerks but showing them the correct way might have worked better (or made the teenager get their back up )


  • I feel that a teenager his old enough to make the choice if they wish to brush their teeth or not. It might be disgusting but its their choice and their body. Its very different when you are talking about a 5year old that doesnt understand what damage not brushing their teeth can cause.
    In my view the Dad would have been way over the top in brushing the teens teeth and I can only imagine what strength and force it took to be able to do that.
    Sounds like abuse to me….physical as well as mental.


  • aside from the dental health issues the teenager may or may not have had… I am concerned about this point in the article “A father, who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat leaving them with bruises and welts, has been granted unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son” hello…. over the top abuse of the older two and the youngest is on unsupervised visits??????? Alarm bells for this one’s possible safety anyone besides me?


  • If childrens’ teeth aren’t cleaned properly and gums brushed at the same time the health of the gums can just as easily compromised as well and will bleed the first few times they are cleaned properly. We have been warned about this by different dental hygienists, dentists and oral surgeons. Antibiotics will not kill gum infections caused by teeth and gums not cleaned properly, neither will mouth wash.


  • If it’s not normal that that child’s gums bleed, then yes, I find it very abusive of the father.


  • Don’t think it’s ok to use force on a child and not very respectful. Especially with older children this has a reverse effect. When we want our children treat us, the other and themselves with respect we should try to give the right example.


  • It’s such a hard thing to comment on because both my husbands and I both bleed when we brush our teeth. Doesn’t even need ro be forceful. I can think about brushing my teeth and my gums bleed. So can we really say it wasn’t a normal thing to happen?


  • Yes he definitely crossed the line. Using force and aggression is never ok. He made the child’s gums bleed. It’s ridiculous behaviour from an adult.


  • I think he crossed the line.


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