“Why were we never consulted” – Parents
We, the parents who were accused of misrepresenting the facts of our smacking cases and therefore misleading Family First, are refuting the claims, and reject the findings of the report commissioned by the Prime Minister.
Why were we never consulted in the process? It appears that our accounts of what happened and the supporting documentation we provided, including court, police and CYF documents, to Family First has been ignored and the only opinion that matters has been that of the police and CYF. The terms of reference of the Review failed to allow our voice to be heard.
The report contains glaring errors including
misrepresentation of basic facts,
contains alleged actions of parents which were found to have no basis in court but which still presents the parent as being abusive,
fails to take into account the response of the court including discharges without conviction for what were previously claimed as serious assaults
reports a case where the police prosecution was dismissed by the court, yet the report still argues that all police action was appropriate
fails to address a number of cases where parents were investigated by police or CYF for erroneous claims of smacking made by passers-by or the children themselves ringing 111
In one of the cases, the parent involved says
CYF fully acknowledge that their handling of this case around alleged smacking was inappropriate and breached good practice. They have apologized, both in written form and in person, and freely acknowledge that their failure to adhere to good practice caused undue stress to the family. Although it was certainly appropriate to investigate, the separation of the family for 72 hours should never have happened.
In another case, the parent involved says
The report has included material which paints me as abusing my child yet that evidence was never accepted in court, was only alleged, and the child even renounced those claims to CYF and said the complaint was made up – yet I am still painted as guilty.
As parents referred to in the report, we believe that we should have had the opportunity to respond to the claims made by the police and CYF. This is a one-sided report and fails to objectively hear the evidence from both sides.
We reject the notion that we have misrepresented the facts to Family First, and that Family First has lied in their advocacy work in this area.
Family First has been one of the few organizations willing to hear our side of the story and advocate for our concerns.
We are not child abusers, yet this report continues to make that accusation, and does so without providing an opportunity for rebuttal or a full assessment of the facts.
The effect of the experience of being investigated and in some cases prosecuted has had a huge effect on our families including our children, yet this has been minimized or ignored.
“John and Sue” – pg 27
Parent – “Father charged for one smack” – pg 24
Parent – “Father charged for shoulder shake” – p21
“John and Mary” – pg 23
“Tania” – pg 30
“Briar” – pg 29
“Jeff and Mary” – pg 28
Parent – “My daughter ran from our house” – pg 31
(page numbers refer to relevant case in Prime Minister’s Report http://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Sec59_review.pdf )
Information provided of police/CYF investigations but was not even included in review
Mother suspended for tapping child on hand
Father charged for ‘shoulder shake’ of boy refusing to get out of bed
Mother of 10 year old who rings 111