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Theuns
The bit that confused me about all this is that - as far as I could tell - the old law already allowed prosecution for anything beyond 'reasonable force'. So either:
- 'Reasonable force' includes punching a child in the face, in which case the police has the same freedom with the new law not to prosecute.
or:
- Under the new law, *any* use of physical force is prosecutable, in which case the police doesn't have the claimed freedom not to prosecute.

As it stands, all that seems to be happening is shuffling around semantics, aka political posturing. *Neither* position resolves anything.
Angry Monkey

The police have always had the option not to press charges in cases of assault. By having a “reasonable force” clause, this particular class of assault had a higher bar before charges where brought, and the defense had a means of arguing for the case to be dropped.

It's now a much more level playing field. The police can now pursue more prosecutions in cases where, in the past, it would have come down to, they say reasonable force disciplining their children, we say parent with an anger management problem.

It also goes a long way to setting the public attitude to one of, ‘it's not ok to hit your children’. That counts for a lot.

That case you allude to is a pretty good example of the shift in public perception that's needed here: Jimmy Mason was convicted of assaulting his child by punching him in the face, and the judge made it clear that this charge would have stood even under the old law. Yet last year all the usual suspects where shocked and appalled that he was charged with anything in the first place.