Family First NZ has published an Open Letter to Prime Minister John Key in two Sunday papers today citing evidence of families being prosecuted and children removed by CYF under the anti-smacking law.
They include a parent who only smacked his daughter’s arm, a parent who was dragged to court but charges were dropped before the court case even began, a parent whose child was in trouble with the police yet was prosecuted when he gave her one leg smack to show how serious the issue was, and parents who were interviewed for five hours by police and the children removed by CYF for two nights when they admitted to a social service agency that they sometimes used a smack for the purpose of correction.
“These cases are in addition to many other cases documented on our website of mums and dads and even grandparents being investigated for the non-abusive correcting of children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “In some cases, children have been removed and parents have been prosecuted. But in all cases, it has been highly traumatic for the families concerned.”
“The anti-smacking law can be compared to attempting to deal with boy racers by taking vehicles off senior citizens because research shows that boy-racing starts with driving a car. It is a flawed law.”
In an Investigate magazine in 2008, the Prime Minister said ‘If I see good parents getting criminalised for lightly smacking their children for the purposes of discipline, I’m going to change the law if I’m in a position to do so. It’s as simple as that’.
“The evidence that the Prime Minister asked for is quite evident. It is now time that he amended the law to protect good parents seeking to raise law abiding and responsible citizens, and Act MP John Boscawen’s amendment is a good place to start. This is similar to National’s Chester Borrows’ Amendment which National was supporting throughout the law change debate.”
“We are also asking for a Royal Commission to be established to tackle the real causes of child abuse including drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown and dysfunction, poverty, mental illness and low maternal age,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“In the middle of a recession, the government could save taxpayers $10m by simply fixing a flawed law, which has targeted good parents while failing to have any effect at all on our unacceptable rates of child abuse and the rotten parents involved.”