Boy’s 111 ‘parent assault’ call unfounded

Eastern Courier 3 August 2007
A boy called 111 after learning about the new child discipline regulations at school. The 11-year-old turned to police fearing he was assaulted by his parents, but it turned out that he was being disciplined. “He was engaging in offensive and obstructive behaviour and his parents intervened with reasonable force,” Howick-Otara family violence coordinator sergeant Brett Woodmass says. “The boy said he had learnt about the law at school and I believe he was misinformed,” he says.A few calls to police related to Section 59 of the Crimes Act reveal some residents are confused over the new regulations. Mr Woodmass says there have been calls that police normally would not have. “A father of a child didn’t like his sister-in-law smacking his child on the hand,” he says. “It was deemed reasonable to minimise the child’s actions to prevent potential harm.” The police investigate every case and still have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against the parent. “Until a case law develops on the section, it is not known how it will be interpreted and applied by the courts,” Mr Woodmass says.