Police have undertaken a three month review of the amendment of section 59 of the Crimes Act (the Smacking Bill) to gauge the impact on police activity.
During the period 23 June 2007 to 28 September 2007 there was no increase in the number of smacking events Police attended with three in each three month period and an increase of two events of "minor physical discipline."
Deputy Commissioner, Rob Pope says claims that the repeal of section 59 of the Act would lead to the prosecution of parents and the removal of children from their homes as a result of minor acts of physical discipline have proved unfounded.
"While this is only a three month snapshot I am 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."
In total over the three month period police attended 111 child assault events, three of which involved "smacking" and 12 of which involved "minor acts of physical discipline".
All of the 15 cases were determined to be inconsequential and therefore not in the public interest to prosecute. However warnings were given out in nine cases.
Two of the cases were referred to Family Violence Co-ordinators, four were referred to Child, Youth and Family, three were referred to inter-agency case management meetings and one was referred to Family Works for family support. Seven of the cases were not referred to another agency. NB one case was referred to more than one agency.
Mr Pope said Police would continue to monitor the impact the amendment was having on a six monthly basis to ensure that any issues that arose could be addressed promptly.
The review report can be accessed here:
04 474 9482