Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Media, Police Mislead Public on Smacking Prosecutions

Media, Police Mislead Public on Smacking Prosecutions

Family First NZ says that the media is misrepresenting the facts relating to smacking prosecutions and in the process are misleading the public as to the effect of the anti-smacking law. They are also concerned that the police appear to have made no effort to correct the wrong facts in the media.

“A number of media outlets and editorials have claimed that ‘police have prosecuted just eight parents for smacking children in the five years since the law came in and that seven of those parents had smacked their child in the head or face.’ This is completely wrong and misleading, and the police should be informing the media that they are misrepresenting the facts,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

According to the police reviews on the law, smacking is defined as ‘a slap with the open hand on the buttocks or legs that does not result in any form of injury’. The police claim that ‘"smacking" in itself is not an offence.’ A minor act of physical discipline is defined as ‘a slap with the open hand on any other part of the body (including the face) that does not result in any form of injury’. There have been 46 prosecutions for minor acts of physical discipline, and 8 for smacking.

“But what is significant is the prosecutions for smacking which the police and the politicians say will not be prosecuted.”

According to the police reviews:
1. One smacking event was prosecuted, but subsequently withdrawn when the primary witness declined to give evidence. 3rd review
2. One prosecution – no details provided by police. 6th review
3. Child was smacked on leg. 7th review
4. Child was smacked on the buttocks with no physical injury. 8th review
5. Child was smacked on the buttocks with no physical injury. 9th review
6. Father allegedly slapped his daughter on her lower leg, causing her to cry but leaving no injury - withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. 10th review
7. Child smacked around the upper thighs, leaving no injuries. 10th review
8. Father smacked his two sons on their legs in a public place, resulting in no injuries. 10th review

“Parents will be surprised by the types of actions which the police are taking to court – despite the guarantees of the Prime Minister that a smack is ok. Almost 600 kiwi families have had a police investigation for allegations of smacking or minor acts of physical discipline since the anti-smacking law was passed yet only 9% of them have been serious enough to warrant charges being laid,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“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.”

“The Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess claims that police responses have been consistent over time – yet 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 is the big increase in false allegations of assault. This may come from neighbours or even the children themselves. Unfortunately, this confusing law has been used as a weapon against good parents – rather than targeting rotten parents who are abusing their kids.”

An independent poll of New Zealanders in March commissioned by Family First found that 3 out of 4 voters want the anti-smacking law amended, and two out of three respondents said they would flout the law and smack their child to correct their behaviour if they thought it was reasonable to do so.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Countdown, And Mary Margaret O’Hara

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Key In NY: Prime Minister Addresses United Nations

    Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More>>.


    Gordon Campbell: On The Lack Of Accountability Over Philip Smith

    In New Zealand, accountability is an exotic creature rarely glimpsed at ministerial level, or among senior management. The flight to Rio by the paedophile /murderer Philip John Smith/Traynor is no exception. More>>


    More On Corrections

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news