Confirmed – Smacking Law Needs Correction

Media Release 15 Sep 2014
Family First NZ says that the Vote Compass survey showing only 23% support the anti-smacking law is no surprise, and confirms that it’s time the politicians listened to New Zealand families.

“The law has been an unmitigated disaster and PR nightmare, and the problem of child abuse has got worse. A report by the Salvation Army at the beginning of this year (“Striking a Better Balance”) showed that in the five years since the passing of the anti-smacking law, recorded police offences of violence, sexual assaults and neglect of children rose 68%, more serious child assaults have increased by 83%, notifications to CYF have risen 66% (nearly 60,000 higher), and cases of substantiated child abuse or neglect rose by 41% over the past five years,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This law has done nothing to prevent child abuse and in fact is doing more harm than good because it is penalising and attacking good parents raising great kids.”

“According to the police reviews on the law, almost 600 kiwi families have had a police investigation for allegations of smacking or minor acts of physical discipline in the 5-year period after the anti-smacking law was passed yet only 9% of them have been serious enough to warrant charges being laid. A law is obviously a ‘dog’s breakfast’ when there is such a high rate (90%-plus) of cases warranting no further action by the police. Yet for these ‘good parents’, the experience will have been hell.”

“Contrary to incorrect media reports which the media have had to apologise for, parents are being prosecuted and sometimes convicted for non-abusive smacks on the bottom or hand.”

“The most recent police reports admit that there has been an upward trend in smacking cases, and ‘more widespread use of the legislation’ by the police. The other huge concern expressed by police themselves is the big increase in false allegations of assault. This may come from neighbours or even the children themselves,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Both potential coalition partners for National have made the repealing of the law as it stands as a bottom line. NZ First say ““NZ First policy is to repeal the anti-smacking law passed by the last parliament despite overwhelming public opposition. Accordingly we will not enter any coalition or confidence and supply agreement with a party that wishes to ignore the public’s clearly stated view in a referendum on that issue.” The Conservatives say “We will repeal the existing law in favour of a law similar to those in Australia. The NSW law would be our preferred wording. This law allows a light smack to be used for disciplinary purposes. Provided we have sufficient numbers, change to this law will be a bottom line.

An independent poll of New Zealanders in April commissioned by Family First found that almost three out of four voters want the anti-smacking law amended, and the support is strongest from NZ First, National and Labour party voters.

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