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Weekly Media Roundup

April 06, 2018 at 11:26 AM

How broad should government abuse inquiry go?

The man heading an inquiry into abuse in state care is urging the public to make submissions on its terms of reference.

Over the weekend the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care launched a major public awareness campaign seeking community in-put into what the scope and limitations of the three-year inquiry should be.

The commission's chair, Sir Anand Satyanand, said the legacy of neglect and abuse some people suffered in state care was a stain on the country's history and it was important the terms of reference reference represented the community's view.

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The Royal Commission into state care abuse: how to make a public submission

From today, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care is welcoming submissions from the public on the draft Terms of Reference.

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Royal Commission calls for public submissions on draft Terms of Reference


Royal Commission calls for public submissions on draft Terms of Reference

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care is welcoming submissions from the public on the draft Terms of Reference.

Chair of the Royal Commission Sir Anand Satyanand says the legacy of people taken into state care who suffered neglect and abuse is a stain on our country’s history.

Child welfare social workers lack consistency

Otago research shows child welfare social workers lack consistency when helping at-risk children

Differing perceptions of risk among child welfare social workers is leading to inconsistent outcomes for children in need, a University of Otago-led study reveals.

Lead author, Senior Lecturer in Social Work Dr Emily Keddell, says children in similar circumstances can receive variable interventions or decisions from child welfare services because of social workers’ different perceptions of risk, safety and future harm.

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Children left suffering by Family Court changes – Little

Controversial changes to the Family Court aimed at getting lawyers out of family disputes do not seem to have worked and children were suffering, says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

Mr Little is setting up a panel and an expert advisory group to review the system introduced under the previous government.

The changes to the Family Court four years ago put the onus on parents - rather than the court - to resolve their differences.

Hundreds of newborns taken from mothers over last three years

The number of newborn babies being taken away from their mothers into government care is leaping, new figures show.

Over the last three years, 574 babies ended up in Government care within the first month of their life, according to figures released under the Official Information Act.

Forty five of these were taken from their mum the day they were born.

Child protection agency Oranga Tamariki said some of the babies would have been taken for planned adoption rather than protection reasons and taking any child away was a last resort.

Record number of children in state care - more than 6000

There are now more than 6000 children in state care - an all-time record high.

But Oranga Tamariki, the ministry that replaced Child, Youth and Family a year ago, is struggling to recruit enough caregivers to keep up with the increasing demand on its services.

Figures provided by the ministry show that at the end of February, Oranga Tamariki had about 3800 caregivers on its books.

In the past year, it recruited 130 whānau carers and just 22 non-whānau carers.

That was despite the number of children in state care increasing from about 5600 a year ago, to 6100 at the end of January.

Judge scathing of ministry's handling of whāngai adoption case

A Family Court judge says it is inexcusable that Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children, insists on calling a mother a child abuser when the court had found she wasn't.

The criticisms were made in a decision from Judge Stephen Coyle in the Family Court in Whakatāne, relating to a battle between a child's birth parents and whāngai adoptive parents.

Judge Coyle also criticised Oranga Tamariki for removing the child from her home, contrary to a court order indicating that was almost enough for him to refer the agency for prosecution.

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Ministry of Health submission says porn has become more violent

The Ministry of Health says pornography is becoming increasingly violent.

In a submission to a Parliamentary committee, the Ministry said 80 percent of online pornography depicted violence towards women and girls.

That violence was often met with indifference or, in some cases, pleasure from the female actors.

Sex therapist Mary Hodson said she was concerned what message that was sending to impressionable teenage viewers, with Australian research finding that by 11, 28 percent of children have viewed pornographic material.

Ministry of Health wants more research into impact of pornography

The Ministry has submitted a research proposal for the consideration of the cross government Sexual Violence Prevention Advisory Board, which is a part of the cross government Family and Sexual Violence programme.

Australian research shows that 28 percent of children have viewed porn by age 11, increasing to 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls by age 16.

The Ministry’s Service Commissioning Acting Director Keriana Brooking says it wants to understand the scope and amount of porn usage by New Zealanders, as well as the issues encountered by schools, young people and health providers.

The Side Eye: The ‘War on Men’

A great cartoon which debunks some of the anxieties around the #metoo movement with regards to attacks on masculinity.

Man jailed for sexually assaulting pregnant partner

A Taranaki man's brutal treatment of the mother of his child has seen him sent to prison.

The 29-year-old harangued, abused and sexually assaulted his victim, a woman he had been in a relationship with since May 2016. 

While he does not have name suppression, revealing his identity could breach the automatic name suppression given by the court to victims of sex crimes.

On Wednesday, the man appeared in the New Plymouth District Court for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to charges of sexual violation via unlawful sexual connection, male assaults female, wilful damage and threatening behaviour.

Rise in complex issues for children at activity centres

Activity centres for at-risk students are reporting a spike in mental health problems such as anxiety and self-harming among the students they work with.

Jonathan Cobb from the national body for the 14 activity centres said centre directors had noticed that the teenagers' schools were sending to them had more complex problems than in the past.

"It's a very similar pattern. They are noticing those two issues of complexity of need but also mental health, anxiety issues. It seems to be rife."

Auckland Secondary School Centre director Sharon Fernee said mental health issues had been increasing every year.

Waitangi Tribunal's recommendations frequently ignored - UN report

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has released a report which outlines its concerns for the human rights performance of New Zealand, and the inequities facing Māori in terms of their economic, social and cultural rights.

The report said the committee was concerned that the Treaty of Waitangi was not legally enforceable.

It was also concerned for the prevalence of domestic and gender-based violence, impacting particularly Māori women and girls.

Appeal under consideration after man escapes conviction for hitting wife with extension cord

An appeal is being considered after a man who hit his wife repeatedly with an extension cord was discharged without conviction.

In March, Wilfred  Lawrence Dsouza avoided a conviction on a charge of assault with a blunt instrument after Judge Chris Sygrove ruled it would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending.

The April 2017 attack, which Dsouza previously admitted, left his wife with welts and bruising around her legs. 

On Tuesday, Crown Law confirmed police had requested that it consider filing an appeal in the case.  It has until April 10 to decide whether it will or not, a spokeswoman said.

Free lectures on child wellbeing for Auckland and Wellington hosted by Presbyterian Support Northern

High levels of immigration are keeping wages low and having a negative impact on child wellbeing, a visiting expert has said.

Three months of free lectures kick off today to inspire Kiwis to reduce child poverty.

Dr Andrew Leigh is the first speaker in Wellington and Auckland with his talk titled Equalising the Antipodes: What Can New Zealand and Australia Learn from Each Another About Reducing Inequality.

Leigh argued that high levels of immigration could be keeping wages low, whereas foreign investment could help reduce inequality. He also believed New Zealand was weak on employment rights.

Government aims to cut prison population and fix 'abnormal' system

An evidence-based approach to New Zealand's prison system would improve outcomes in New Zealand's "complex" justice system, a report from the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor suggests.

The report, Using evidence to build a better justice system: The challenge of rising prison costs, comes at a time when the Government has promised to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent within the next 15 years.

Our prison population is one of the highest in the OECD, and is climbing higher still, even though our crime rates are decreasing. Prison costs in New Zealand have risen over the past 30 years, with the Government spending $100,000 on each prisoner per year.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said the Government "would look at - right from young offending - early interventions, and then what we do with people who do wind up in prison so that they're spending less time there".

'The response is very poor' - Advocacy group says Oranga Tamariki still has far to go a year on from re-formation

One year on from the formation of Oranga Tamariki, a domestic violence advocacy group says there is still much to improve - but the chief executive says it's a five-year journey.

Kids, Māori miss out on winter payment

One of the Government's first moves to help poverty-stricken families by paying them to heat their homes this winter won't actually help children in poor working families. Shane Cowlishaw reports.

Beneficiaries say accommodation supplement boost won't be enough

New Zealanders on benefits are now better off - but some say they're only getting an increase of $3 a week.

The accommodation supplement was boosted on Sunday, one of the first priorities of the new Labour-led government.

Increases vary from family to family. However, some said after April 1 they're expecting only a $3-$10 increase, according to their MyMSD payment forecast.

They said it was not enough and wouldn't even cover the ever increasing cost of food.

'Impossible task': DHBs warn underfunding means care could be unethical

A new regime for treating addicts is so underfunded it risks unethical "revolving door" treatment that could lead to chronic homelessness, seizures and death, DHBs have warned the Government.

In an extraordinary letter to Health Minister David Clark, Auckland's health boards slammed a lack of funding for a law change to give compulsory treatment to the worst drug and alcohol addicts.

Dr Lester Levy, then chair of Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata, wrote of big gaps in alcohol and drug treatment, including respite services – and said the support that is already in place is overburdened.

Registered child sex offenders living in the community without being monitored

"We want him gone."

That's the message from Michelle Brown, a Palmerston North parent who was this week notified of a registered sex offender about to be placed in their neighbourhood.

Brown and her daughters, aged 6 and 12, live in the suburb of Roslyn, which has four schools and five early childhood facilities to cater to the high number of young families.

United Nations calls on NZ to adopt human rights-based national housing strategy

The United Nations is supporting calls for New Zealand to adopt a human rights-based national housing strategy, and has asked the Government to report back to it on the matter within 18 months.

The support was issued by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in response to a submission from the Human Rights Commission (HRC).

A human rights-based housing strategy requires housing to be affordable, habitable, accessible and secure in tenure.

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Category: News Media