Anti-smacking law predictions proved wrong

NZ Herald November 15, 2007
Green MP Sue Bradford’s “anti-smacking” legislation has not led to a big rise in child abuse notifications to protection agencies. Opponents of Ms Bradford’s bill, which was passed into law in May this year, claimed it might lead to a big rise in abuse notifications to Child Youth and Family (CYF) as people reported parents who smacked their children. The bill changes the Crimes Act, removing the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically punish their children.But Ministry of Social Development chief executive Peter Hughes yesterday told MPs on Parliament’s social services committee that there had been little noticeable impact in that regard. “We are certainly not seeing any huge increase in numbers of notifications that we can relate back to the passage of the bill.” However, Mr Hughes said though there had not been a rise in abuse notifications there had been recent rises in family violence notifications as public awareness grew in that area.A lobby group opposing the law last month said a school reported a Wellington mother to CYF for smacking her child on the hand. And on another occasion, the same mother was visited by police after a neighbour reported a smacking in the family’s yard. She was not charged.The lobby group, Family First, would not reveal the identity of the family…. But Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said the family’s experience was a warning to other parents.
Family First Comment: Wait until the evidence is revealed of families being traumatised by investigations by CYF, Police and schools. WATCH THIS SPACE!