View printer friendly page
|Home > CASES||
HERE ARE JUST SOME EXAMPLES OF PARENTS
WHO HAVE BEEN REPORTED (AND EVEN PROSECUTED)
AS A RESULT OF THE ANTI-SMACKING LAW
1. Solo Mum Investigated by Police When Child Falls Over
2. Police Investigate Grandmother for Giving Swearing Grandchild a Smack in Shop
3. Toddler's Bedtime Tantrum Brings Three Cops Knocking
4. School Dobs Mum to CYF for Hand Smack
Sunday Star Times 28 October 2007
A Wellington mother says her family has been left traumatised by new anti-smacking laws, after her son's school reported her to Child, Youth and Family for smacking him on the hand. "I don't want to feel like a child abuser, and I don't want to be labelled as a child abuser because I smacked my son," she said. "It's brought a lot of trauma to our family unit and unnecessary stress." The woman, who did not wish to be named because she says she fears losing her children, says another smacking several months later resulted in a visit from police and referral to a foster care agency – despite the police not charging her.
Read Full Report
Read Full Testimony of the Mother
5. Boy Calls 111 to Report Parents
6. Mother Investigated After 4 Year Old Smacked For Running Out on Road
7. Supermarket tantrum earns stressed mum police warning
8. Eight year old’s Class Taught to Dob in Parents – Behaviour Deteriorates
Within the next few days, this solo mum’s 8 year old daughter who had been in this session and who had had a ‘clean’ record at school all year was stood down for kicking the teacher in the leg. She also kept telling her mother “you can’t make me do anything - you can’t smack me”, following the lesson. Her older child (10) also told the mother that “you can’t make me go to school.”
The mother went to the police to clarify what they had said and to tell them the difficulties she'd had since their visit to the school. The Sergeant was obliging and said he would sort it out by sending the officer involved to speak to the girls and reinstate her authority. An angry phone call from the officer followed to the mother, questioning whether she had a problem with the smacking law. Two days later 2 male officers arrived to supposedly reinstate the mother’s authority but instead they questioned her parenting skills and told her they had investigated her background with a variety of community organisations. They had her in tears and she found them intimidating and degrading. They also proceeded to tell the children their rights. Yet amazingly the police said to the mother the daughter deserved a smack after kicking the teacher. The mother in desperation at her treatment spoke to her local MP, & was then contacted by the District Commander of the Police who told her not to go complaining to the MP because he had better things to do.
The mother was traumatised by all this, and has laid a formal complaint with the Police but to no avail.
9. Passerby Reports Squealing Child
“We don't smack our kids (or if we have in the past, it has been minor) and this incident did not occur. I informed the officers accordingly. They insisted that they needed to see my daughter. I informed them that she was now with her father as we share custody. I gave them full contact details. They told me they would have to go around there to check she was OK.”
“I have found the whole episode to be extremely distressing. I felt completely humiliated to literally be accused of child abuse and have now found it hard to sleep at night at it has upset me so much - how I look after and care for my children is being questioned. On hearsay I am now a guilty person. This new law is ending up with a lot of good innocent parents being wrongfully accused. This law needs to be changed.”
10. Grandmother Warned by Police After Grabbing Grandchild Running onto Road
She now puts him in the pram to avoid getting arrested. Her family is horrified by what's happened and she's now concerned about taking her grandchildren out in public. She feels she's been publicly humiliated.
Another grandmother came up to her and said she'd been interviewed by the police for giving her 4 year old grandson a smack on the bottom in Countdown for swearing at her. The woman was taken to the police station to be interviewed.
11. They had no right to make dad look like a criminal – daughter (13)
"I am Steven’s older sister and I am 13 years old. I think what CYF did was wrong. they told my mum that my dad couldn't see us for two weeks. they didn't interview me even though steven told them he had an older sister. if they had've interviewed me i would have been outraged because my dad is hard working and watches us play sports and takes us to music lessons. our family was in tears even my dad. they had no right to make my dad look like a criminal."
12. Teen to mum – "you can’t hit me but I can hit you"
Nickie is a mum who uses a smack perhaps once a year. But recently she was hit by her 16-yr old son when he didn’t want to obey her request. Nickie said to him “You can't hit me". His immediate response was "ah no& you can't hit me". She has four sons, and is very worried about the effect of this attitude on her other children. Her 3-year old has also started saying “you can’t hit me”. She feels like her only option is to ‘hand them over to government – we have no control any more’.
Even thought she doesn’t smack, she still signed the petition opposing the anti-smacking law as she wants to retain that option in exceptional circumstances, and opposes being told how to parent her own children.
13. Kids fighting in backseat of car earns mum a police investigation
Rebecca* (name changed to protect identity) was driving her parents’ car with her two young boys in the backseat. They were fighting and causing havoc, and causing a dangerous distraction to Rebecca. She turned to the back seat, pointed at each of the boys to get their attention, and told them to stop fighting and to sit quietly.
A passerby reported Rebecca to the police for allegedly smacking a child in the front seat! The police went to the grandparents’ house (the registered owner of the vehicle.) The grandparents were away, and after questioning a number of neighbours, eventually tracked down Rebecca. She wasn’t home, and they refused to discuss what they wanted with the husband. They did acknowledge to him how time-consuming the investigation was.
Rebecca and her husband are understandably upset by the malicious and inaccurate claims, the involvement of the police, and the suspicion and embarrassment caused by the interviewing of various neighbours.
14. One smack for one-hour tantrum - 10 year old calls 111
He then called 111 in his bedroom and within half an hour, the police were on Joy’s doorstep. The police realized that this was not child abuse and told the boy not to waste their time again. Joy wanted to make his son go down to the police station to apologise for his actions, but the officer in charge told Joy that that was not allowed and the boy had done the right thing!
When Joy realized that her son had rung the police, she was petrified. She was also panicking that they could take away her son.
The following night, her husband was playing with their son (playfighting) and Joy immediately worried in case it got a bit rough and something happened like her son falling off the bed and breaking his arm and the police would be on her door step asking questions! She says “I know that sounds extreme but it could happen, it has definitely made us cautious - pretty sad when you feel nervous about playing with your own kid.”
15. Father charged for "reasonable discipline" yet case dismissed when no evidence is offered
When the matter eventually came to court, the police offered no evidence and the case was dismissed.
His lawyer said that the dad had pushed one of the girls to get her to hurry for school and threw the jeans at the other to get her attention. He said "When the whole issue was being discussed in Parliament and in public, they said that minor matters would not end up in court, it would only be the serious ones... the public were given assurances that the police would consider this law carefully, and in this case they have not."
16. Father charged and convicted for demanding respect towards mother
17. Grandfather charged and convicted for tipping child out of chair to get a ‘move-on’
A grandfather was charged and convicted of assaulting his grandson for tipping him out of a bean bag-type chair in order to 'get him moving'. He had refused to turn the tv volume down and then refused to turn the tv off when asked.
The grandchild rang 111. The grandmother and grandchild pleaded with the police not to take granddad away, yet he was held in prison cells for 2 nights, then bailed back home, despite police objections! His lawyer advised him to plead guilty to avoid cost and hassle.
18. Police interview step-father for 2 hours for restraining abusive daughter
When they asked the police "what else can we do if we can't restrain her" they were told "we don't know".
Despite numerous phone calls and visits to the police station to find out the result, they have been told nothing more. They are now afraid to restrain any of their kids – no matter what their behaviour. It is creating tension in the family and step-father is never sure if the next car up the driveway is the police coming to arrest him.
19. Dad banned for 6 months based on smacking claim by ex-wife
It is believed that the smacking law was used by the ex-wife so that she could take the children overseas, in breach of the family court order. After six months and no evidence, Dad finally has access to his children again.
What a CYFS Community Panel Board Member says
Any child who mentions to a school teacher that they have been smacked or touched in any physical way is brought under investigation and their names are indelibly logged onto our data base as a potential 'abuser'. I really feel sorry for these 'good parents' because of the fear that we as an organisation now engendering upon their parenting practise. Sadly good parents are being lumped in together with the really bad ones and the source of this injustice is the bad legislation that an idealist like Sue Bradford has put together."
YOU COULD BE NEXT!
And meanwhile, Police and CYF resources and time are diverted from
More cases to come....