Police say discretion working on smacking law

NZ Herald Mar 24, 2011
Police say they are continuing to apply discretion on the controversial child discipline law after attending a record number of complaints in the second half of last year. A fall in the number of reports for smacking was counterbalanced by increases in “minor acts of physical discipline” and “other child assaults”, figures released today show. The total number of offences under the amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes Act reported between June 23 and December 21 last year was 444, up from the previous record of 16. “The findings of this review are consistent with our previous monitoring. It shows police continue to apply their discretion in these cases,” Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope said.
Family First national director Bob McCoskrie, a staunch opponent of the law, said the report did not show how parenting confidence was being reduced. “What these figures do show is that since the law was passed, more than 400 families have gone through the trauma of an investigation for a smack or minor act of physical discipline, and 26 of these families have been prosecuted through the courts,” he said. “But this review does not even touch on the huge number of families investigated by Child Youth and Family, children temporarily removed, and ex-partners using the law to their benefit in custody cases.” Reviews of the law will continue on a six-monthly basis until June 2012