Eight prosecutions for smacking in six years of law

Protests were held when the Anti Smacking Bill passed in 2007, but fears of rampant prosecutions have proven unfounded, File photo / NZ Herald
Protests were held when the Anti Smacking Bill passed in 2007, but fears of rampant prosecutions have proven unfounded, File photo / NZ Herald

Police say concerns that good parents would be prosecuted under the controversial anti-smacking law have again been proven unsubstantiated.

Police have published their 11th review of the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 which covers the six-month period from December 2011 to June 2012.

In total, 355 reported child assault attended by police during this period were considered for the review.

It found that of the 12 "smacking events'', none resulted in prosecution, nine warnings were given and three required no further action.

Of the 31 "minor acts of physical discipline'' events, nine resulted in prosecution.

Of the 252 incidents of child assault, 133 resulted in prosecution.

Of the "smacking'' and "minor acts of physical discipline'' events, 32 incidents were referred to Child, Youth and Family, 20 were referred to an inter-agency case management meeting, and six were referred to other support agencies.

There have been a total of eight prosecutions for smacking since the June 2007 law change.

Assistant police commissioner Malcolm Burgess said initial fears that good parents would be criminalised under the law continued to be proven wrong.

The police responses had been consistent over time and there had been an increased number of reports of child assault, and a slight increase in "smacking'' and "minor acts of physical discipline'' reports.

This suggested people had become increasingly comfortable telling police about such incidents, Mr Burgess said.

Police will not review the law again.

- APNZ

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