Three ‘smack’ offences in six months 24 August 2012
Family First NZ has labelled the anti-smacking law a “dog’s breakfast” after a police review revealed the majority of cases warranted no further action by police. But the Green Party, which pushed for the law, says that while there is not always enough evidence to support some claims, at least people were bringing their concerns to the police’s attention. The number of false allegations and occurrences where no reliable evidence could be found to support initial allegations nearly doubled, from 48 to 88, since the last six-monthly review period. Police spokeswoman Jane Archibald said the figure had increased as people became more aware of the law around smacking. “Overall the number of incidents reported increased year on year.” Police attended 500 child assault incidents during the review period of June 22 to December 21 last year. Twenty three involved smacking and 45 involved minor acts of physical discipline. Three adults were prosecuted for “smacking” – the most since the law came into effect five years ago, police said. One man received nine months’ supervision and 100 hours of community work for smacking his two sons on their legs in a public place, resulting in no injuries. Two other men were also prosecuted with a charge of Assaults Child (manually). The charge against one father, who allegedly slapped his daughter on her lower leg causing her to cry but leaving no injury, was subsequently withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. There have now been eight prosecutions for a “smacking” event since the introduction of the Crimes (Substitution s59) Amendment Act in 2007.

Family First NZ national director Bob McCoskrie said the review would be cold comfort to parents. “Unfortunately, this confusing law has been used as a weapon against good parents – rather than targeting rotten parents who are abusing their kids.” Mr McCoskrie said the increase in false allegations of assault was a huge concern. “It seems incredible that we are wasting time investigating hundreds of families who obviously don’t warrant that investigation.” Parents had been stripped of a parenting technique which, when used appropriately, had been proven to effective and appropriate, he said. Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the review showed the law was obviously working. “Police are clearly using their discretion to pursue the cases they feel warrant prosecution.” Ms Turei said the increase in the number of reports to police was a good thing. “It means more people are keeping an eye out.”

More parents land in court for smacking children
Dom Post 25 Aug 2012
More parents than ever are being prosecuted for smacking for their kids, new figures show. The latest police review of the anti-smacking law shows more charges were laid against parents last year than at any other time since the law came into force in 2007. Police attended 500 child assault incidents during the review period of June 22 to December 21 last year. Of those calls, 23 involved smacking and 45 involved minor acts of physical discipline. Three smacking cases led to charges. Since the law was introduced, only eight smacking cases have reached court. Assistant commissioner Malcolm Burgess said the three prosecutions within six months corresponded with more people reporting smacking. “Numbers of events in most of the categories, including smacking, have trended up. “We attribute this to the more widespread use of the legislation by police . . . and also to increased reporting as public awareness of the legislation grows.”

Three prosecuted for smacking in last half of 2011
NZ herald 24 Aug 2012
In the last six months of last year three people were prosecuted for smacking – almost half the total number of prosecutions since the anti-smacking legislation came into effect five years ago….Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said the latest results showed the law was a dog’s breakfast when there was such a high rate of cases warranting no further action by the police. “Of most concern is that the report refers to an upward trend in smacking cases, and ‘more widespread use of the legislation’ by the police,” he said. It was incredible that police were wasting time investigating hundreds of families who “obviously don’t warrant that investigation”. Family First has called for an amendment to the anti-smacking law to clearly define what reasonable physical correction is, and to decriminalise non-abusive smacking.