Almost two years after the passing of the controversial anti-smacking law, more than 80% of NZ’ers still want the law changed and 77% say that the law won’t have any effect on our unacceptable child abuse rate.
These are the key finding of research commissioned by Family First NZ, following on from similar research in 2007 and 2008. The Curia Market Research poll surveyed 1,000 people, and also found huge confusion over the legal effect of the law.
83% said that the new law should be changed to state explicitly that parents who give their children a smack that is reasonable and for the purpose of correction are not breaking the law (85% in 2008, 82% in 2007).
83% say the law should be changed – only 13% say to keep it as is
77% says the law won’t help reduce the rate of child abuse in NZ
Less than one third of respondents actually understand the law
“This is essentially the same question that will be put to NZ’ers in the Referendum at the end of July. The government can save $8 million of taxpayer funding towards the cost of running the Referendum during a recession, and amend the law now,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Respondents were also asked whether the new law makes it always illegal for parents to give their children a light smack. 55% said yes, 31% said no, and 14% didn’t know.
“This proves just how confusing the law is to parents and it is this confusion that is causing huge harm. Parents have been given conflicting messages by the promoters of the law, legal opinions have contradicted each other, and on top of that is police discretion but not CYF discretion to investigate.”
“Parents have a right to know whether they are parenting within the law or not. This law has just created confusion and as a result, good parents are being victimised,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Meanwhile, the rate of child abuse continues. This flawed law must be fixed and the real causes of child abuse confronted.”
The poll was conducted during the week beginning March 9, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.