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Child abuse hotline overwhelmed by calls

A pre-school manager trying to report an at-risk child to Oranga Tamariki was on hold for over half an hour with no answer, then again for 20 minutes, she says.

The incident yesterday left the manager, Jane*, worried that ordinary members of the public having to wait this long may give up and that cases of child abuse may go unreported.


The Human Rights Commission must show it has its own house in order on sexual harassment

Revelations around the handling of a complaint at the HRC call for independent scrutiny of an organisation that depends on moral authority, argues Toby Manhire.


Salvation Army State of the Nation report 2018

An estimated 70,000 children aged under 17 are living in severe material deprivation according to a new Salvation Army State of the Nation report released today.

The Salvation Army report provides a ten-year analysis of how New Zealand has progressed in bringing social and economic equity to citizens. This latest report also says New Zealand continues to break all-time records, topping 10,000 prisoners in March last year.


The summer interns and the law firm

Something went badly wrong with the student law clerk programme at national law firm Russell McVeagh in Wellington over a recent summer.

Newsroom has learned of a pattern of sexually inappropriate behaviour towards the female students that saw our leading universities intervene, at least one report made to the police and a later reform of the clerk programme including a ban on alcohol and the launch of a helpline for them to seek support.


Former staff question law firm’s culture

Leading law firm Russell McVeagh faces further criticism for its handling of complaints from five student clerks of serious sexual assault and harassment while on a summer work programme.

Questions are also being raised about the culture at the firm with one, male former lawyer saying photos in bio-booklets of prospective law clerks from universities have been referred to by senior male lawyers in the past as the summer "menu".


Baby found in synthetic cannabis 'zombie' house

The mother of a young baby who was found in a "zombie like state"  after smoking synthetic cannabis has been convicted of ill treating her children.

Rotorua police found the woman swaying, slurring and holding her eight-week-old baby when they attended a call in August last year to assist ambulance staff dealing with an unconscious man - also affected by synthetic cannabis.

Two children were also at the house - the woman's eight-week-old baby and five-year-old child.


Lifeline worried by rising mental health calls to police

Lifeline says it's concerned at reports of increased calls to police about mental health issues.

The helpline says it should not be the role of police to support those in distress, only those at imminent risk of suicide.


Labour moves to legalise abortion

Andrew Little today fired the starting gun on reforming New Zealand's decades-old abortion laws, confirming that he had sent a draft referral to the two other governing parties for their comment. Thomas Coughlan reports on what to expect from the law change.


New Zealand 'a society divided by wealth': new housing report

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has released a "sobering" stocktake on housing which has found homelessness was worse than thought and there was a growing "floating" population of people in insecure housing.

It warned that New Zealand was "quickly becoming a society divided by the ownership of housing and its related wealth".


Police suspect synthetics link in West Auckland man's death as nearly 30 cases before Coroner

The death of a man at a West Auckland property last night may be connected to synthetic drugs, police say.

Police were called to a Massey address just before 10.30pm last night and found a 54-year-old man dead.

Police spokeswoman Shelley Nahr confirmed the death.

However she could not give further details as the investigation was still in its early stages.


Auckland man jailed 12 years for 'sadistic and unprecedented' family violence

An Auckland man inflicted "sadistic and unprecedented" violence on his family for 15 years in a case thought to be one of the worst family violence cases of its kind in New Zealand.

The 46-year-old can't be named to prevent identification of his victims, who have statutory name suppression. He shook his head throughout the sentencing at the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday, where he was jailed for 12 years by Justice Mathew Downs.


Sleeping woman suffers suspected broken nose in attack

A man punched his sleeping partner in the face only hours after he manhandled the woman and threw her against a wheelchair, a court heard.

On Thursday, Hohepa Tahere admitted the violent attack along with an earlier altercation with police, where he aggressively acted out and spat at an officer.


Australia PM to deliver apology to child sex abuse victims

Australia's Prime Minister is to make a national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

Late last year, a Royal Commission released a report based on a four-year inquiry that collected evidence from 8000 abuse survivors.


'Enthusiastic yes': Melbourne Uni makes sexual consent course mandatory

Undergraduate students must now pass an online course about sexual consent if they want to enrol at the prestigious University of Melbourne. 

In the wake of a damning Australian Human Rights Commission report into sexual harassment and assault on campuses, Australian universities are rolling out training to teach students about respectful relationships.

As part of the enrolment process for the University of Melbourne, students have to complete ‘Consent Matters’, an animated online course and quiz that teaches students about boundaries, misconceptions about consent and how to intervene when witnessing sexual harassment or assault. 


First complainant's testimony heard at teen sex trial of Olympic gold medallist Arthur Parkin

One of three women who claim they were abused as a child by Olympic gold medallist Arthur Parkin says she was too scared to tell anyone about the sporting great.

Parkin is on trial before a jury in the Auckland District Court this week for alleged historic sex offences against young girls while he was playing for the New Zealand hockey team.


Online child sex-abuse linked to falling phone bills

Wider access to smartphones and super-fast internet access are giving rise to a disturbing trend: a surge in on-demand, live-streaming online child sexual abuse, according to a report published by a children's welfare group founded by former Facebook executive Joanna Shields.


Home detention sentence for man who sexually abused daughter during overnight stay

A Taranaki father's sexual abuse of his daughter left her struggling with life and resorting to self harm, a court has heard.

The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the victim's identity, was sentenced in the New Plymouth District Court after previously pleading guilty to a charge of sexual conduct with a child under 12. 

He pleaded guilty on the eve of his district court trial last December, where he had faced a total of four sex abuse charges. The remaining three were discharged at Wednesday's court hearing after the prosecution offered no evidence.


Hastings man found with thousands of child sex abuse images pleads guilty

A Hastings man has pleaded guilty to a raft of charges, including possession of more than 17,000 objectionable images.

Beaudene Bliss, 37, appeared in Hastings District Court on Monday.

He entered guilty pleas to a charge of possessing 17,137 objectionable publications, five charges of distributing objectionable publications, one charge of making an intimate visual recording, and one charge of indecently assaulting a girl under 12.


White House response reflects obstacles facing abused women

When Jennifer Willoughby and Colbie Holderness stepped forward to tell the story of how they were physically, verbally and emotionally abused by their ex-husband, who had since become a top White House aide, President Donald Trump had nothing but good things to say about the man they had accused of domestic violence.

Rob Porter "did a great job while he was at the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career," Trump said Friday, adding that the aide had vehemently maintained his innocence.

The president followed that up Saturday with a tweet that "lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation."


Marriage of minors bill would give power to courts, not parents, to stop forced marriage

The Human Rights Commission is calling for the marriage of minors to be outlawed in New Zealand.

The call for a debate on the age Kiwis should be able to marry was echoed by women's organisation Shakti, during a Justice Select Committee hearing on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill.

Currently, anyone aged 16 or 17 in New Zealand can marry with parental consent.