Wednesday, 2 May 2007

2 May 2007 - big-news - National to vote for the anti smacking bill

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
National to vote for the anti smacking bill

National is to vote for the anti smacking bill after National and Labour agreed to an amendment last night. They should have done this ages ago.

What the amendment says

To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against parents of any child, or those standing in place of any child, in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in pursuing a prosecution.

What this means, if this bill is written into the clause of the Act, is that police do not have to uphold the law in all cases. It is a compromise, it is not ideal, but it may be politically achievable. However if it is written into the preliminary guidelines, it has no legal effect and police can ignore it.

What the leaders should have added is that if police have discretion not to prosecute, they also have discretion as to whether they report such discipline to Child,Youth and Family. Its my understanding that as the bill stands, police will have to report all such reported discipline to CYFS. So if they have discretion in prosecuting, they should also have discretion in notification to CYFS.

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