Smacking Prosecutions Only ‘Tip of Iceberg’

Family First NZ says that the latest police report on the anti-smacking law trivialises the real impact of the anti-smacking law and fails to reflect the widespread confusion over the application of the law, the impact on parenting and parental authority, the continued opposition to the law, and the ongoing failure to target and tackle actual child abuse.

“Police activity is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the effect this law is having on families. It ignores the effect of the law on parenting confidence, the suspicion felt by parents, and of parents being threatened by their own children, highlighted in research released this week,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“What these figures do show is that since the law was passed, more than 400 families have gone through the trauma of an investigation for a smack or minor act of physical discipline, and 26 of these families have been prosecuted through the courts. Almost 300 families have been warned, and under police guidelines, risk prosecution for any future reports of light smacking. We’re wasting police time and resources when they have far more serious issues to tackle.”

“But this review does not even touch on the huge number of families investigated by CYF, children temporarily removed, and ex-partners using the law to their benefit in custody cases.”

“It is significant that this latest review has been released in the same week that a poll has shown increasing support (82%) for the law being amended to give certainty and to protect good families. The sales pitch isn’t working and the politicians’ denial of the reality of how this law is affecting parents isn’t fooling anyone.”

“The real tragedy in these figures is that the law has done absolutely nothing to tackle our child abuse death rate and rates of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in dysfunctional homes with rotten parents,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“We all desperately want the real causes of child abuse tackled – but good parents deserve to be respected and left alone to continue raising great kiwi kids, using techniques that work. At the moment, they’re being told how to parent – under the threat of criminalisation by the law and intervention by CYF,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Parents deserve much more than a law which even John Key has admitted is a complete and utter dog’s breakfast, badly drafted, and extremely vague.”

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