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Scaremongering Proven Wrong By Police Review

21 December 2007

Scaremongering proven wrong by police review

Green MP Sue Bradford is welcoming the results of the police review showing that hysteria whipped up by critics of her Bill to amend section 59 is thoroughly unfounded.

The review shows no increase in the number of 'smacking' events police attended over the three month period since the law came into effect. Police attended 111 child-assault incidents during this time, three of which involved smacking and 12 involved minor acts of physical discipline.

All 15 cases were determined to be inconsequential and not in the public interest to prosecute.

The amendment to the Crimes Act - which was passed with massive cross party support in May - does not create a criminal offence but corrects a historical anomaly, granting children the same rights to protection from violence as adults.

"Many opponents of my Bill predicted overflowing jail cells, courts struggling to cope with the huge influx, and masses of New Zealand children snatched away from the parents in police raids. This simply hasn't eventuated," Ms Bradford says.

"The police have used their discretion, along with the Solicitor-General's guidelines for prosecution. This is exactly the same procedure they use in every single incident they attend.

"I am disappointed that Mr Baldock is rubbishing the police report. He has said the information provided by the Deputy Commissioner is inaccurate and misleading. I know he feels strongly about his right to hit children, but dispute his attack on police credibility.

"Furthermore, if there is cause to believe that a child is being assaulted or abused, I'd rather the police made the visit, knocked on the door and found out the truth, regardless of the potential for embarrassment.

"Many of the names on the New Zealand's shameful roll call of murdered children could have been saved by this kind of intervention.

"I also welcome the recent news that Spain has become the 20th country to pass laws protecting children from corporal punishment. This is a fantastic Christmas gift for all those who support human rights, especially for the young and vulnerable," Ms Bradford says.


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