Will prohibiting the use of physical punishment reduce child abuse deaths among New Zealand children?


  • Sophie Trevathan Carried out this research while an MSW student at the Department of Social Work and Community Development, University of Otago, New Zealand. Formerly employed as a social worker by New Zealand Child, Youth and Family Service.
  • Lynne Briggs Senior Lecturer at the Department of Social Work and Community Development, University of Otago, New Zealand




child abuse, correctional force, section 59 amendment, child abuse deaths, sweden,


The Amendment Act (Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act, 2007) came into force on 22 June 2007. The changes in the Act amended the right of parents to use force by way of correction toward a child. The purpose of this amendment was to provide children with a safer and more secure environment to live in that is free from violence. Such a move also has the potential to provide a clearer mandate for social workers in regard to issues of child safety. While planned, reviews to determine how effective the amendment has been have not yet been undertaken.

This paper presents some key findings from a larger study exploring the issue of child abuse deaths in New Zealand. In doing so a comparison of legislation and policy between New Zealand and Sweden is presented. Sweden was used as the main focus for this comparison as it introduced a ban on use of corporal punishment of children in 1979. 


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How to Cite

Trevathan, S., & Briggs, L. (2017). Will prohibiting the use of physical punishment reduce child abuse deaths among New Zealand children?. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 21(1), 11–21. https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol21iss1id309