Media Release 30 September 2011
Family First NZ says that the police figures released today on the anti-smacking law show that almost 500 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 7% of them have been serious enough to warrant charges being laid.
“It seems incredible that we are wasting time investigating hundreds of families who obviously don’t warrant that investigation, are putting those families through the stress of a potentially prolonged investigation, and are diverting valuable police resources from serious crime and rotten parents where actual abuse is happening,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“A law is obviously a ‘dog’s breakfast’ when there is such a high rate (93%) of cases warranting no further action by the police.”
“This will give no confidence to parents when they realise that they could be subject to the stress and shame of a police investigation which undermines their authority as parents in front of their children. Parents have been stripped of a parenting technique which, when used appropriately, has been proven to be effective and appropriate.”
“What is concerning in the figures is that the serious ‘child assaults’ show a 60% increase with 206 being recorded in a 6-month period in 2008 and that figure rising to 332 in the latest 6-month period. We quite obviously have not even begun to tackle the at-risk families with preventative measures. And, tragically, our child abuse death rate continues unabated,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First also notes that the much touted Parent Call Centre has received no calls and is obviously an irrelevant solution to the concerns of parents. The report also fails to quantify the high level of intervention from CYF which even CYF is unable to verify.
Family First continues to call for an amendment to the anti-smacking law to clearly define what is reasonable physical correction, to decriminalise non-abusive smacking, and to then target our vital police resources at rotten parents who are abusing their kids.