Anti-Smacking Law Diverting Police Resources From Real Child Abuse

The anti-smacking law is wasting valuable police time and resources when police should be focusing their energies on actual child abuse like the two recent Rotorua cases.

A Howick-Otara police family violence coordinator has highlighted a case of an 11-year-old calling 111 and complaining to the police after being corrected by his parents. The police say he had learnt about the law at school and was misinformed.

“The anti-smacking bill has placed healthy and reasonable discipline into abuse categories and police are now wasting time having to investigate complaints of what is simply appropriate and reasonable parental correction,” says Family First National Director Bob McCoskrie.

“The police should be focusing their energy on investigating drug and alcohol offences, domestic violence, violent crimes and actual child abuse, rather than being distracted by complaints from children who don’t like correction and boundaries from their parents.”

Similar cases have surfaced in Sweden including a recent case of a 6-year-old ringing the police because she was angry at her mother for not being given a handbag like her mother’s. Police time was wasted investigating the malicious claim.

“Although we want children to speak up when there is violence in their homes, the anti-smacking law has resulted in appropriate parental correction being interpreted as ‘parent assault’ and having to be investigated. Not only are parents confused by the law, but children are too,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Good parents are being targeted by this flawed law, diverting our attention from the at-risk families we should be working with.”


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