Family First (NZ) Media Release 17 June 2011
Family First NZ [a registered charity with the Charities Commission] says that the anti-smacking law is criminalizing good parents and only the common sense of juries is protecting parents from the actions of politicians. It is challenging Prime Minister John Key to amend the [so-called ‘anti-smacking’] law that he has labeled “a dog’s breakfast”, and introduce the amendment that he lobbied for before he became Prime Minister which decriminalizes reasonable force for the purpose of correction
“A father was acquitted in the Wellington District Court today by a jury which threw out three charges of assault. The judge also threw out another charge of assault which the police had laid because of the father physically restraining the child, saying that it was clearly an act of reasonable force to control a disruptive and unruly child. All these charges related to a dad with no previous involvement with CYF,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The dad was blocked from seeing his son for over a year while awaiting trial, although cynically, the police tempted him with the offer of allowing contact if he pleaded guilty there and then, which would have resulted in him carrying assault convictions on his record.”
“Ironically, in the same court yesterday, a grandmother was charged for not restraining her grandchild and forcibly sending her to school. As the dad’s defence lawyer stated in court to the jury, parents are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.”
“Parenting in New Zealand has been put on trial. The politicians have dealt a heavy legislative blow to parents, and parents are feeling disempowered, disrespected, and demonised as child abusers,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“As well as that, the police are caught in the middle trying to balance the zero tolerance approach to family violence against the so-called discretion offered under the anti-smacking law.”
Family First NZ is challenging Prime Minister John Key to amend the law that he has labeled a dog’s breakfast, and introduce the amendment that he lobbied for before he became Prime Minister which decriminalizes reasonable force for the purpose of correction.
“NZ’ers have no confidence in this law and are confused by it,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Good parents and grandparents doing their darndest deserve the support of the state – not criminalisation.”