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Police has published its ninth review of activity following enactment of the Crimes (Substituted s59) Amendment Act 2007.
This review covers the period 22 December 2010 to 21 June 2011.
456 child assault events attended by police during this period were considered for the 9th review. 18 of these events involved 'smacking' and 58 involved 'minor acts of physical discipline'. (See note 2 below)
Of the 18 'smacking' events, one resulted in prosecution, 12 resulted in a warning and 5 resulted in other / no further action being taken. Of the 58 'minor acts of physical discipline' events, 9 resulted in prosecution, 38 resulted in warnings and 11 resulted in other / no further action being taken.
The smacking event prosecution involved a child being smacked at least five times on the buttocks with an open hand. The smacking was witnessed and and reported to police by a neighbour. The offender had a prior history of assaults and police laid a charge of Common Assault (Domestic) (Manually). The defendant was ordered to come up for sentence if called upon by the Court over a one year period.
There have now been 5 prosecutions for a 'smacking' event since enactment of the Amendment in June 2007.
"The total number of section 59 events has increased year on year. It is likely that this is due to an increase in incidents being reported to Police," says Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess.
"The numbers in this review are in line with previous reviews and Police continue to use their discretion when dealing with Section 59 incidents, said Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess.
Police will continue to report on the impact of the Amendment until June 2012.
(1) Further details of the 9th review can be found on the NZ Police website http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/resources/s59-9th-review.pdf.
(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.html