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Weekly Media Roundup

April 27, 2018 at 10:17 AM

Deep flaw in report-back on social worker registration

Social Service Providers Aotearoa says the select committee’s report on mandatory social worker registration fails to meet the Bill’s fundamental objectives of safeguarding the public and protecting the integrity of the social work profession.

SSPA represents community-based organisations providing child and family social services. Social workers make up a significant section of the workforce.

SSPA national manager Brenda Pilott says that while the select committee has made some useful recommendations, it is deeply disappointing it has not adopted recommendations from across the social service sector that the title of social worker needs definition or it becomes meaningless.

“There is an almost unanimous view that social worker registration needs to be underpinned by a scope of practice. Without this, it’s left to employers to decide what is and isn’t social work; as long as social work tasks are called something else, the registration process can be bypassed and the work done by those who are unregistered or even unqualified.

“It makes the legislation unfit for purpose,” Brenda Pilott says.



Can a nurse be a teacher?

If the aim of registration is to protect the title and the public then this legislation fails on both counts. An employer can call a job something else and so avoid employing someone qualified and registerable. Even if they call it social work, as long as they list alternative quals/people, and the person applying doesn’t claim to be a social worker, then they can get the job and not be considered to be practising social work.  While it’s true that there is variable social work practise out there, and there is a need for post-qualifying education and support to assist with ensuring quality practise, this legislation is likely to reduce rather than increase the quality of social work and the ability to ensure it meets a minimum standard.



Emanuel Stoakes: Bill poses threat to social workers

The social work profession in Aotearoa New Zealand is at a turning point. A crucial decision is about to be made that could have long-term implications for social workers across the country.

The threat is a section of the Social Work Registration Legislation Bill which is before Parliament's social services select committee. If the bill remains as it is, it could mean up to 50 per cent of currently registered social workers and practitioners with a social work qualification in roles not described using the words "social worker" will not be required to be registered, meaning they can operate without any accountability.

This is despite the fact that the bill's chief purpose is mandatory registration for all social workers, moving on from the current system of voluntary registration.



Social workers call for govt to scrap registration bill

Social workers want the government to scrap a proposed law to make registration mandatory, saying it excludes half the country's workforce and does not do enough to protect the public.

The Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill aims to raise professional standards but still leaves it up to an employer to decide who is and who is not a social worker.

MPs hearing submissions on the bill have been warned repeatedly that leaving the definition of a social worker up to the employer will erode public confidence in the profession and result in fewer registered staff.

The Association of Social Workers supports mandatory registration, but chief executive Lucy Sandford-Reed said she was dismayed politicians had not listened.



Mother calls for change to law that allows her abuser to deny her a support person at meeting over child's future

A terrified mother told she must face her abuser alone is calling for a change to the law that allowed him to deny her a support person.

The woman must face her abusive former partner at a Family Group Conference (FGC) to determine the future of her son, who is in temporary foster care.

"Absolutely terrified" at the prospect of having to deal with the man she has a protection order against, she asked to take a friend for emotional support.

The FGC co-ordinator told her the law required any non-family members to be agreed by her ex-partner, who then vetoed the request.



Geneva human rights committee 'shocked' at NZ's human rights report card

A UN human rights committee is shocked by New Zealand's record on child poverty, inadequate housing, the incarceration rate, and violence, abuse and bullying.

New Zealand received a mixed reception from the UN Committee responsible for oversight of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) when it met in Geneva last month.

The committee picked out three main areas where it wanted the Government to report back to the committee within 18 months.

These were the development of a human rights-based housing strategy, progress on reducing family violence, and the removal of benefit sanctions.



Young Māori go to UN to oppose mega-prison

A human rights lawyer protesting government plans to build a $1 billion mega-prison has taken the issue to the United Nations.

Human rights lawyer, Julia Whaipooti, spoke to Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon about her presentation to world leaders at the UN permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Ms Whaipooti said the proposed mega-prison in Waikeria near Te Awamutu would worsen the already existing crisis and structural racism within the criminal justice system.



More than half of inmates took meth before being imprisoned

The meth epidemic sweeping New Zealand is not only causing personal heartache, it's costing the prison service millions.

Recent research done by the Department of Corrections suggests more than half of prisoners have used methamphetamine in the lead up to entering prison.

New Zealand's prisons are bursting at the seams, a record 11,000 people are inside and that number continues to grow.



Kiwi kids living in poorest areas three times more likely to die - Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee report finds

Children living in the most deprived areas are three times more likely to die in childhood or adolescence than those living in the least deprived areas, a report has found.

The Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee report found that in 2016, 483 children and young people died. This was the lowest number since the committee began in 2002.

Those living in the most deprived areas experienced significantly higher mortality rates. The rate of deaths in the most deprived areas (decile 10) was almost 60 per 100,000 population. Whereas the rate for the least deprived area (decile 1) was 19 deaths per 100,000.



School in turmoil: Claims of 'sexual behaviour' referred to police

The Ministry of Education received three complaints last year about alleged sexual behaviour at an embattled West Auckland school where more than half the board has resigned en masse.

The complaints related to two separate incidents, both of which were reported to police and child support services. Both incidents are thought to have involved children.

Four Whenuapai School board of trustees representatives resigned this week and another resigned earlier this year. None of them has been replaced, according to the ministry.

Government officials plan to meet with the school's executive this week "to discuss the next steps".



Killer cop Ben McLean not deserving of sympathy, says former friend

A devoted husband who snapped and killed his wife and shot her lover in a deranged mist of hurt and anger.

That is the narrative Dunedin woman Jane Allan wants to dispel, a year after Verity McLean, 40, was beaten and shot by her police constable husband, Ben McLean, 48, in Invercargill.

Allan says McLean has attracted unwarranted sympathy, even from Verity's own family, as he serves his 17-year minimum non-parole sentence in a Christchurch Prison.

"He didn't kill her because he loved her and was heartbroken. He killed her because he couldn't control her," says Allan, who was one of Verity's best friends.



'Poor families really can't wait' for Work and Income changes

An announcement on the government's welfare system overhaul can be expected in the next three to four weeks, the Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says.

Questions have been raised again about Work and Income's culture and processes, following revelations this week about a South Auckland mother who was told her benefit was cut because she'd been on two Tinder dates.

The government isn't going into details about just how far the overhaul - which was promised as part of Labour's confidence and supply deal with the Greens - will go, but it will look at removing excessive sanctions, ensuring people get access to what they're entitled to, and reviewing Working for Families.



Hawke's Bay man jailed after horror domestic violence episode

A Hawke's Bay man who kidnapped and raped the mother of his child, breaching a protection order in place for the woman, has been jailed for nearly 10 years.

The 28-year-old, who cannot be named, appeared in the Napier District Court for sentencing yesterday after pleading guilty to rape, sexual violation, kidnapping, threatening to kill, assault with intent to injure and contravening a protection order.

All of the charges arose from a single incident on October 6 last year when the defendant contacted the complainant and asked to be picked up from a Hastings address.



Police training shifted to Auckland

A new wing of police recruits will start their training on Monday - but they will be doing things a bit differently than usual.

The 20 up-and-coming cops will train exclusively in Auckland, far from the traditional Police College experience in Wellington.

The recruits are a trial wing being run from Tamaki Makarau in a bid to bolster police numbers in the city and attract recruits who have been held back or put off joining the organisation in the past due to the training being held in Wellington.



Family Court judges’ comments ‘ludicrous’

Some Family Court judges stand accused of making inappropriate, 'idiotic' and 'ludicrous' comments towards women in domestic abuse cases, raising concerns they don't understand partner violence.

Newsroom has learned of comments that have astounded some experts on domestic violence.

One judge even implied a woman could not have been fully focused on doing her job as a mother because her case had been highlighted in a Newsroom news report and she was thus acting as an advocate against the Family Court.



Roundabout that leads back to prison roster

444. 76. 11.

No, they're not your winning Lotto numbers.

They're not winning numbers at all. Quite the opposite.

444 is the number of times prolific burglar Allan Adams has been convicted, 76 is the figure for Daniel Johnson. Queen has notched a relatively paltry 11.

Their stories are alarming, frustrating and heartbreaking. But they are not new. Sadly, they represent a broken record of wrongdoing, a vicious revolving door of recidivism.

These stories, and many others like them, are a big headache for a Corrections Minister who clearly doesn't want to build a $1 billion prison but who may have no choice: too many prisoners keep making their way back.



Man admits to illegal 'sugar daddy' arrangement with teen

A 58-year-old man has admitted to paying a 16-year-old girl for sex in an illegal "sugar daddy" arrangement.

Nabil Shendi, described as the director of accommodation premises in central Nelson, entered into an arrangement with the girl, who he'd known since she was about 14, once she'd turned 16.

The matter had initially been set to go to trial in the Nelson District Court on Thursday and a jury was empanelled. But after legal argument heard in chambers by Judge David Ruth, Shendi pleaded guilty to a charge of contract for sex with a girl under 18.



Tomorrow People singer fired after being accused of domestic assault

Kiwi reggae-roots band Tomorrow People has "parted ways" with singer Marcus Abraham following a domestic violence accusation by his former partner.

Tomorrow People announced on Saturday that "one of our members", who the band did not name, would no longer be part of the band following allegations made on Facebook.

The Facebook post in question has since been taken down but was made by Abraham's former partner.



Killed partner’s pup during an argument

A Gisborne man who deliberately stamped on and killed a seven-week-old puppy he had given his partner has been sentenced to four months home detention.

It was essentially another act of family violence by a man who had other such convictions, although limited, Judge Haamiora Raumati said in Gisborne District Court.



Woman stabs partner with scissors after he spat in her face

A pregnant woman stabbed her partner after he spat at her multiple times during an argument over money.

Maraea Taitoko and Jamaine Feu Liona-Lutua appeared in the New Plymouth District Court  after being charged in relation to the domestic dispute in Inglewood on April 23.


Category: News Media