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Substantial Jump in Parents Being Investigated

MEDIA RELEASE

23 June 2008

Substantial Jump in Parents Being Investigated for Smacking

Family First NZ says that the police report on the effects of the anti-smacking law shows an almost 300% jump in the number of parents being investigated for minor acts of physical discipline since the law was passed.

“The six month review of police activity following the passing of the anti-smacking law follows on from the 3 month review immediately after the law change, and a further 3 month review six months after the amendment,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “There is an obvious effort to try and paint a positive spin on this law change by the police head office, with so many reviews!”

“But what this particular review shows is that police resources are being wasted on attending and investigating smacking and minor acts of physical discipline, yet less than 5% are serious enough to warrant prosecution.”

“This report fails to explain what “minor acts of physical discipline” are, acknowledges that there may have been changes in police recording practice and may have been changes in the ‘threshhold’of what is acceptable, and as per the last report in December 2007, admits that “an absence of a notification on a Police file does not necessarily mean that no notification was made.”

“The worst aspect is that the number of actual child assaults are now at almost the same rate as before the law change.”

“In other words, the anti-smacking law has failed to stem the tide of child abuse, but has targeted many good parents and grandparents with the trauma and fear of police investigation and CYF involvement. Parents will feel very nervous reading this report, knowing the increasing level of investigations for minor acts.”

“Sue Bradford, Cindy Kiro and Barnados trumpet the law as a success because not many are being prosecuted.”

Family First wants laws which target actual child abusers, tackles the real causes of child abuse identified by the CYF and UNICEF reports, but leaves good parents alone to raise law-abiding and productive citizens of NZ.

ENDS

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