Detective Sergeant David Beattie, of New Plymouth, is fronting a call for legislation that recognises psychological abuse as an offence.
This type of abuse was often worse than physical violence and had longer lasting implications for the victims, Beattie said.
“I have examples of a father calling his 10-year-old daughter a “little whore” for misbehaving and the F word and the C word being regularly levelled at children,” he said.
“What I’m suggesting is that this is a more serious offence than smacking yet legislation does not reflect that. It’s not about criminalising parents but protecting children.”
As it stands using obscene and offensive language towards a child is only a criminal offence when there is a protection order in place.
“I would like to see it as an offence to use this language towards a child under the age of 14 and to summons the parent to court.”