Warning to Oz: Smacking Ban More Harm Than Good

Family First Media Release 26 July 2013
A family group in New Zealand is warning Australian parents to reject any proposed ban on smacking, saying that from experience, it will do more harm than good, will have no effect on child abuse rates, but will criminalise good parents raising great kids.

“The rates of child abuse deaths in New Zealand have stayed at the same rate as they were before the anti-smacking law was passed. The ban has targeted good parents, rather than the rotten parents who are abusing their children, and has wasted valuable time and resources of the police and social agencies,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Any claims that a ban on smacking will lower child abuse rates are simply ‘hot air’.”

A recent survey of 1,000 NZ’ers found that only 12% of respondents think the law change has had any effect on the rate of child abuse. The survey also found that three out of four people back a law change to allow “correctional” smacking of children. And two out of three respondents said they would flout the law and smack their child to correct their behaviour if they thought it was reasonable to do so.

Another survey in 2011 found that almost a third of parents of younger children say that their children have threatened to report them if they were smacked. And almost one in four of parents of younger children say that they have less confidence when dealing with unacceptable behavior from their children since the anti-smacking law was passed.

“The latest review of police activity related to the anti-smacking law continues to show disturbing trends, and reveals that almost 600 kiwi families have had a police investigation for allegations of smacking or minor acts of physical discipline since the anti-smacking law was passed yet only 9% of them have been serious enough to warrant charges being laid.”

“In the meantime, cases of actual child abuse have increased by a third in the past 5 years,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“We must take pro-active action and tackle head-on the difficult issues of family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, violence in our media, mental illness, and other key factors identified by the various UNICEF, CYF and Children’s Commissioner’s reports.,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse, rather than pass ‘feel-good’ but ineffectual laws.”

Six years on from the ban on smacking in NZ, opposition remains as strong as ever. A referendum in 2009 found 87% opposition to the smacking ban, but the results were ignored by the National-led government. 

See www.protectgoodparents.org.nz and www.voteno.org.nz

ENDS