Family First NZ, a registered charity with the Charities Commission, has yet again called on politicians “to adopt the ‘Borrows’ amendment which did not ban smacking but which clearly stated what was abusive and what was not.” It has highlighted cases it claims “Reveal CYF Ignoring Intent of Ant-Smacking Law”.
Photograph by Tim Hales
Cases Reveal CYF Ignoring Intent of Ant-Smacking Law
Media Release dated 18 June 2012
Family First NZ has released further cases highlighting how the anti-smacking law is being used to criminalise and persecute good parents.
“These cases add to the extensive list of cases already listed on the website www.protectgoodparents.org.nz and our documentary “My Mummy’s A Criminal” highlighting five families and the inaccuracies of the Prime Ministerial review led by Psychologist Nigel Latta,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“These latest cases show a disturbing trend. Not only are police resources being wasted on investigating ‘smacking’ allegations, but Child Youth and Family (CYF) are ignoring the intent of the law and are removing children from good homes where the parents may use a smack, are failing to adequately investigate the background of families before uplifting children and traumatising families, and are refusing to place children with extended family who may use a smack even when CYF acknowledge the expertise and safety of the parents. They are also ignoring the fact that in many cases, the police are seeing no reason to prosecute.”
At the time of the law being passed, Prime Minister John Key said “Good parents want to have confidence that they will not be criminalised by this legislation if they give their children a light smack. It sends a strong signal that the level of violence against children in our society is unacceptable, but at the same time gives parents confidence that they will not be criminalised for carrying out their normal parenting duties.”
“The law was always sold to the public by pretending that non-abusive smacking would not result in a visit by the police or a social worker to remove the children. But the cases released today – and previously – show the exact opposite is happening,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Parenting has been put on trial in New Zealand, and they have every right to be concerned about a flawed, confusing, and badly applied law.”
“It is significant that the ‘discretion’ clause only applied to police and not CYF. At least with the police, parents get to have their day in court to defend themselves – even if it means going all the way to the Court of Appeal as one of our cases highlights. But with CYF, they are unaccountable to the families.”
Family First continues to call on politicians to adopt the ‘Borrows’ amendment which did not ban smacking but which clearly stated what was abusive and what was not. This has been successfully used in other jurisdictions such as the UK and Australia.
For case studies see: