Barnados says report shows smacking law working

NZPA 20 December 2008

Children’s charity Barnados New Zealand has welcomed the police’s latest report on 2007’s controversial law change on smacking which it says shows the law is working well. But lobby group Family First NZ, which opposed the law change, said the report confirmed the law was a spectacular failure. Family First NZ national director Bob McCoskrie said the latest figures confirmed police were wasting valuable police time and resources investigating unwarranted complaints against parents. “But they also confirm that they are prosecuting parents for smacking,” he said. “Our fears of prosecutions have been confirmed.” “You know a law is completely ineffectual when the proponents applaud it because of its lack of impact and the problem and rate of child abuse remains,” he said.

But Barnardos NZ chief executive Murray Edridge said the law was working well. “There is no significant increase in the number of parents being prosecuted which clearly shows that the police are exercising discretion and only prosecuting serious incidents under the law.” Mr Edridge said research conducted by the Children’s Issue Centre and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner showed that more parents understood that hitting children was not effective and were moving towards positive discipline methods.