NZ – Smacking Debate – NZ Police News – Two year police monitoring of section 59 amendment is completed.


A new news release is available for you to view on the Police website:

Title: Two year police monitoring of section 59 amendment is completed.

Police has published a summary of two years monitoring of relevant police
activity since enactment of the Crimes (Substituted section 59) Amendment

This project began on 17th March 2007, three months prior to enactment. It
ended on 22nd June 2009 two years after anactment.

Regular updates have been published since June 2007. This final report
includes the 5th monitoring period (5th April 2009 to 22nd June 2009) not
previously reported.

During the two years police brought one prosecution for smacking which was
subsequently withdrawn. A further 13 prosecutions were brought for events
classified as “minor acts of physical discipline”. These events may have
included a smacking element plus other aggravating factors.

Of those 14 cases prosecuted sentences included diversion, discharge without

conviction, conviction and discharged, and supervision.

Deputy Commissioner (Operations) Rob Pope says the monitoring shows police
have consistently applied their discretion when dealing with child assault

“The amendment has had minimal impact on police activity and officers have
continued to apply a commonsense approach”

“The monitoring has shown that practice guidelines issued by the
in June 2007 have been effective in guiding police when dealing with these
difficult cases”

“Police has continued to apply its discretion and assess each incident on a

case by case basis”


Contact: Grant Ogilvie: 04 474 9476

Editors note:

(i) Two new reports are available on the police website at These are the final 2 months of monitoring
review) plus the summary report of all reviews over the last two years.

(ii) The 1063 child assault events identified in this review period are not

the total number of child assault events attended nationally by police
this time. These are events which, according to 7 offence codes, were most
likely to identify incidents which might involve ‘smacking’. This is because

‘smacking’ in itself is not an offence.

The Police Family Violence Governance Group and the Ministry of Social
Development agreed to examine the following seven offence types:

Assault Child (Manually)
Assault Child (Other Weapon)
Common Assault (Domestic)(Manually)
Common Assault (Manually)
Other Assault on Child (Under 14 Years)
Common Assault Domestic (Other Weapon)
Other Common Assault

And based on this examination the events were allocated to one of
each of
the following categories: ‘smacking’, ‘minor acts of physical discipline’
‘other child assault’. The rationale used to allocate each event to a
specific category involved consideration of the:

… actual physical action used in the child assault; and
… the context and the surrounding circumstances, as outlined in the
Commissioners Circular.

(iv) The Commissioner’s Circular on this issue released in June 2007 can be

found on the police website at this address:

Please view the full news release online at:


New Zealand Police


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