Family First NZ says that the latest police statistics on the anti-smacking law trivialize the real impact of the anti-smacking law and fail to reflect the widespread confusion over the effect of the law, the impact on parenting and parental authority, the continued opposition to the law, and the ongoing failure to target and tackle actual child abuse.
‘What these figures do show is that almost 350 families have gone through the trauma of an investigation, temporary removal of children, and potential court case for a smack or minor act of physical discipline, and 19 of these families have been taken to court,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “And this review does not even touch on the huge number of families investigated by CYF, children temporarily removed, and ex-partners using the law to their benefit in custody cases.”
“It is also incredible that the police refer to the Latta review undertaken at the end of the year, despite this review being exposed as misleading, failed to meet its terms of reference, and missed out or ignoring key information.”
“The fact that over 95% of 20,000 respondents to a recent online poll continue to oppose the law shows that the police sales pitch isn’t working and the politicians’ denial of the reality of how this law is affecting parents isn’t fooling anyone. The politicians had the chance to decriminalise good parenting just last month – but they blew it. They continue to ignore the reality of parenting.”
Family First is aware of a number of more recent cases where parents have been investigated, prosecuted and/or had children removed for removing children to Time Out, or using reasonable force to deal with defiant behaviour and tantrums.
“The real tragedy in these figures is that the law has done absolutely nothing to tackle our child abuse death rate and rates of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in dysfunctional homes with rotten parents.”
“We all desperately want the real causes of child abuse tackled – but good parents deserve to be respected and left alone to continue raising great kiwi kids. At the moment, they’re being told how to parent – under the threat of potential criminalisation and intervention by CYF. And because they’re law abiding citizens, they’re trying to do their best.”
“Parents deserve better than a law which even John Key says is a complete and utter dog’s breakfast, badly drafted, and extremely vague,” says Mr McCoskrie.