NEW ZEALAND: Smacking prosecution fears misplaced
Children's Rights Information Network (CRIN), December 21, 2007

[21 December 2007] - Fears new anti-smacking legislation in New Zealand would lead to a flood of prosecutions against good parents have proved to be misplaced, police figures show.

A review of police activity since the amendment of the Crimes Act, removing the defence of "reasonable force" in child discipline, showed police attended three smacking incidents.

Between June 23 and the end of September, there was no increase in the number of "smacking events" attended, said Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope.

"I'm confident that police are taking the same common-sense approach to these events as we always have, with officers using their discretion to ensure the appropriate action is taken," he said.

Over the three-month period, police attended 111 child-assault incidents, three of which involved smacking and 12 minor acts of physical discipline.

The 15 cases were determined to be "inconsequential" and therefore not in the public interest to prosecute. However, warnings were given in nine cases.

Pope said police would continue to monitor the impact the amendment was having to ensure any issues that arose were addressed quickly.


Return to:
Advocacy and protest
Violence toward children at home
The Newsroom
Front Page