CYFS files on smackers

NZ Herald June 28, 2007
Parents caught lightly smacking their children more than once will be reported by police to the Child, Youth and Family Service. The new child-discipline law, which came into effect last week, gives the police a discretion not to prosecute a parent for smacking a child if they consider the offence inconsequential. Police guidelines on how to handle the new law state that where the force used by a parent is found to be “minor, trivial or inconsequential”, the case should be recorded and details sent to a family violence co-ordinator.But in more serious cases, and in “repeat events” where warnings or other interventions have failed, the case should be written up and prosecution considered; and CYFS has to be told. “A notification to Child, Youth and Family must be made by faxing the POL400 [form] to the Child Youth and Family call centre.” CYFS intends to keep the reports on file. But an individual connected with the service said last night: “We are not going to start delving into the minutiae of people’s lives without reason.” Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said the police guidelines in effect equated repeated light smacks with more serious cases and this was wrong. “It’s not what the politicians promised.”