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No substantial change in child assault cases

Media Release: Barnardos New Zealand

24 June 2008

Police statistics: no substantial change in child assault cases

The statistics released by Police yesterday confirm that the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act is not resulting in parents being criminalised unnecessarily.

"The data shows that of the 288 child assault incidents attended by Police during the period of 29 September 2007 to 4th April 2008, 69 involved minor acts of physical punishment. Of those, 65 did not result in prosecution. This clearly shows the Police are exercising the discretion available under the law," said Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand.

"As we have said before, the law is working well and parents are not being unduly targeted by Police."

"The Police have said there is no substantial change in the volumes of these incidents reported to them. So where is the so-called "clear evidence of good parents being prosecuted" cited by Family First and other opponents of the law change? "[1]

"The child discipline law will be subject to a full review in June 2009. In the meantime, Police statistics show there is no need for any change to the law. Parents can rest assured that Police are administering the law fairly. We continue to support the law as an important step towards changing the culture of violence against children," concluded Mr Edridge.


[1]Large Stack of Signatures Confirms Referendum- Family First press release 23 June 2008 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0806/S00285.htm

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