Eleventh review of Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007

Eleventh review of Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007

National News

Police has published its 11th review of activity following enactment of the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007.
The latest review covers the six-month period from December 2011 to June 2012, and is the final such Police review.

Monitoring was initially for a two year period when the Amendment Act was passed in 2007. The Prime Minister then invited Police to continue reporting on the impact of the law change for a further three years. This review completes that three year process.
Results for the 11th review are consistent with previous reviews. In total, 355 child assault events attended by police during this period were considered for the eleventh review. 12 of these events were identified as involving smacking and 31 involved 'minor acts of physical discipline'.

Of the 12 smacking events, none resulted in prosecution, nine warnings were given and three required no further action being taken. Of the 31 'minor acts of physical discipline' events, nine resulted in prosecution (see full report for details of these). Of the 252 incidents of child assault, 133 resulted in prosecution. A total of 60 incidents were classified as "no further action" required.

Of the 'smacking' and 'minor acts of physical discipline' events, files indicate that 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 are a total of eight prosecutions for a 'smacking' event since the June 2007 law change.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess says police responses have been consistent over time.

During the 11th review period, there was a decrease in all types of incidents, but the overall trend from the first review to the 11th indicates a growth in the number of reports of child assault, and a slight increase in smacking and 'minor acts of physical discipline' incidents.

"This suggests people have become increasingly comfortable reporting incidents," Mr Burgess said.

Due to the low prosecution rate, initial fears that ‘good parents’ would be criminalised continues to be proven wrong," Mr Burgess said.

"We encourage people to report any incidents where they witness or believe a child is the victim of abuse or unreasonable force."
They can call police directly, or if they want to anonymously pass information on they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Editors note:
(1) Further details of the 11th review can be found on the NZ Police website http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/resources/other-reports/11....

(2) The number of child assault events identified in each review period does not reflect the total number of child assault events attended by police during this time. The events are those most likely to identify:
• Actual physical action used in the child assault; and
• The context and the surrounding circumstances, as outlined in the practice guidelines (Commissioners Circular).

(3) Following the December 2009 review Police agreed to continue monitoring the impact of the Amendment on a six monthly basis until June 2012. Further details of the review can be found at:
www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Sec59_review.pdf

(4) The practice guide (Commissioner's Circular) on this issue released in June 2007 can be found on the police website:
www.police.govt.nz/news/release/3149

For further information
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