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Weekly Media Roundup

July 27, 2018 at 10:14 AM

Domestic violence victims able to take a new form of leave

Domestic violence victims can now take a new type of leave to help support them out of violent situations.

Green MP Jan Logie's Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill passed its third reading on Wednesday night, without National Party support.

The law requires employers to give victims of domestic violence up to 10 days leave from work, separate from annual leave and sick leave entitlements, making New Zealand the first country in the world to offer this type of leave as a universal entitlement.

It also allows workers who are victims of domestic violence to request flexible working arrangements and prohibits being a victim of domestic violence as a grounds for discrimination under the Human Rights Act.

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Domestic violence bill: Nats on wrong side of history - Greens

The Green Party MP whose domestic violence leave legislation was voted in yesterdaysays National will find itself on the wrong side of history for voting against the bill.

Jan Logie's Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill gives victims up to 10 days paid leave per year. It passed in Parliament last night, 63 votes to 57, with only National and ACT voting against it.

Financial insecurity was often a significant barrier to people trying to leave abusive situations and the legislation offered them a pathway, Ms Logie said.

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Law to allow leave for domestic violence victims

Parliament has passed a law that allows victims of domestic violence to take up 10 days of paid leave from work each year.

The Domestic Violence - Victims Protection Bill passed today without the support of National, which said it was yet another cost being passed on to small businesses.

Act also voted against the bill but it passed with the support of Labour and New Zealand First, by 63 votes to 57.

The bill requires employers to have policies in place for dealing with the effects of domestic violence on employees.

Green MP Jan Logie introduced the bill in 2016. It is expected to take effect on April 1, 2019.

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'Non-accidental' head injuries to 18-month-old girl spark homicide investigation

Police have launched a homicide investigation after an 18-month-old girl died of head injuries. 

Comfort Joy Witeri-Thompson, from a South Waikato family, was airlifted from Tīrau to Waikato Hospital on Monday, July 23, with critical injuries. 

She was put on life support and died in hospital late on Tuesday. 

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Silent lambs: Child sexual abuse and the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Best known for their door-to-door evangelising, Jehovah’s Witnesses are on a quest to save the ‘wicked’ from damnation. For victims of sexual abuse within the organisation, however, that quest has seen perpetrators shielded from justice. Amy Parsons-King has met several survivors as part of an investigation for The Spinoff. These are their stories.

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My plea to Jehovah’s Witnesses: it is time for zero tolerance on child abuse

Spinoff revelations about sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses underline the need for a community-wide response to child sexual abuse, writes the children’s commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft

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How a strict religious upbringing prepped me for an abusive relationship

Can the meek obedience expected of children in some religious traditions make them more vulnerable to abusive relationships as adults? One domestic abuse survivor tells her story.

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Government making progress for New Zealand women

Beehive Releases

The Minister for Women Hon Julie Anne Genter and Under-Secretary for Justice Jan Logie (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) today welcomed United Nations recommendations to take more action on progress for women.

“We know there is a huge amount of work to do to make things better for women and girls, and this Government is absolutely committed to that work,” Ms Genter said.

Under-Secretary Logie attended the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held in Geneva recently instead of Minister Genter. The United Nations has today released the Concluding Observations on New Zealand’s eighth periodic report.

“Gender-based violence is a huge problem and this Government is taking a comprehensive approach to eliminating it,” Ms Logie said.

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Women's progress good for country

A prominent Maori woman leader has welcomed a United Nations report calling for more action here on progress for women.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women's eighth periodic report on New Zealand, highlighted concerns with gender-based violence against women, abortion, and the way women are treated in the Family Court system.

Te Pou Matakana chair Merepeka Raukawa Tait says the UN report is a useful way to track New Zealand progress against international standards.

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Delayed review into pressured Family Court to get underway

The government's promised review of the pressured family court system is about to get underway - three months later than it should have.

The government is poised to announce details of who will carry out the inquiry and the terms of reference.

Late last night the UN repeated its call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the court's treatment of victims of domestic violence saying it was worried the review would not go far enough.

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Andrew Little rejects UN women's committee call for Royal Commission into New Zealand Family Court

Justice Minister Andrew Little has rejected a call by the United Nations committee on women's rights for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Family Court, saying the Government already has a fair idea of what the problems are.

The UN committee on women's rights today backed a call for New Zealand to adopt a cross-party and long-term strategy to combat gender-based violence against women.

The call was made by the Human Rights Commission and NGOs to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in Geneva earlier this month. 

Mr Little has already ordered a Ministerial Review of the Family Court. 

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Calls for 'bold' Government action as study reveals drinking habits of pregnant Kiwi women

A significant proportion of Kiwi women are risking harm to their babies by drinking alcohol before and during pregnancy.

A new study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday shows a third of women who drink before they know they are pregnant continue to do so afterwards, despite evidence of potential harm to their babies.

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Sobering accounts of domestic violence by Judge Phil Connell and victim Mereana Love

A district court is barely coping with domestic violence crimes, with more than 200 cases each week in Hamilton alone.

And a judge has told domestic violence workers Hamilton District Court does not have enough resources to handle the phenomenal number of family harm cases.

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Social worker and Black Power member Eugene Ryder talks about the impact of domestic violence

Eugene Ryder was 10 when he discovered his father was a paedophile.

At 12, he became a state ward and lived in all but one boys' home in the North Island.

At school, he was beaten by teachers and learned the way to deal with life was with your fists.

Black Power member and social worker Eugene Ryder grew up with only one tool in his kit - a fist. He is teaching others how to add to their toolkit, so they don't resort to violence.

It would shape the adult Ryder would become: violent, angry, untrusting.

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Government pilot offering free counselling for all 18-25 year olds

The Government is looking for an agency to run a $10.5m mental health pilot providing free counselling for 18-25 year olds.

The pilot will be the first major step on the way to fulfilling a pledge in the Green Party's confidence and supply agreement with Labour to provide free counselling for everyone aged 25 years and under.

The $10.5m contract is now open for competitive tender, with the pilot expected to run over three years.

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Family of victim of scoutmaster abuse calls for public inquiry

Victims of convicted paedophile Scoutmaster Graham Morine are calling for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical state care abuse to include Scouts New Zealand. 

"I want answers to what happened on Scouts camps," says the mother of one victim, who is speaking publicly for the first time. "I want answers to what happened at jamboree and what leaders knew, and who didn't know, and how this happened."  

This week Scouts New Zealand echoed the call and has asked the Commission - whose inquiry was announced in February by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - to broaden the terms of reference to allow groups like Scouts to be included.

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The fallen father: Paedophile Catholic priest Michael Shirres 'abused children for decades'

A prominent Catholic priest and theologian has been exposed as a self-confessed paedophile, who was quietly placed on a sex offenders programme by the church and is suspected of having abused dozens of children for decades.

The Herald can reveal Father Michael Shirres, who had lectured in Māori theology at the University of Auckland and wrote several books on Māori spirituality, confessed to sexually abusing a young girl and is suspected of abusing many other victims.

The Catholic Church has confirmed it received five complaints against Shirres and placed him in a programme for sex offenders. Another victim says a therapist told her Shirres admitted to abusing dozens of children.

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The fallen father: Safe Network calls for end to secrecy over institutional sex abuse

An organisation that offers therapy to child sex abusers says more needs to be done by organisations referring clients to them to dismantle their own cultures of secrecy and silence.

Auckland-based Safe Network spokesman Shane Harris said his organisation did significant work treating offenders by carrying out assessments and then offering appropriate clinical interventions to help curb their predatory sexual behaviour.

But he said it was unethical for churches and other organisations not to involve the civil authorities when allegations or evidence of abuse first surfaced and that a bigger impact would be made if that wasn't the case.

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The fallen father: Church sex abuse in NZ 'still not exposed' - expert

An internationally-renowned expert on clerical sex abuse believes its extent in New Zealand has not yet been exposed.

Emeritus Professor Desmond Cahill, of RMIT University in Melbourne, also criticised the Government for not extending the terms of reference of its historical inquiry into abuse in state care homes to include religious institutions.

Cahill was a senior consultant on clerical sex abuse in the Catholic Church for the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which referred 2575 abuse cases to the authorities. It released its final report in December last year.

He told the Herald a "triggering event" may be needed to precipitate a decisive move to reveal clerical abuse in New Zealand and initiate changes to ensure mistakes of the past didn't happen again.

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Trial of man accused of Kim Richmond's murder opens

The trial of a man accused of killing his partner and dumping her vehicle, with her body inside into a South Waikato lake opens in the High Court in Hamilton this morning.

Cory Jefferies, 46, is charged with the murder of his long-time partner, Kim Richmond, who was 42.

Ms Richmond, who had three children with Mr Jefferies was first reported missing from her Arohena home, near Te Awamutu in August 2016, but her body was not discovered until 10 months later in June 2017.

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United Nations slams treatment of women in NZ Family Court system as 'shocking'

The United Nations describes the treatment of women in the New Zealand Family Court system as "shocking" and may send a special investigator here to find out what's going on.

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Tutaki service in Stratford celebrates five years helping at-risk youth

The staff of Tutaki Inc likes to celebrate success, so they did it with cake and candles.

Since opening five years ago, the one-stop youth social agency in Stratford has helped  517 individuals, mainly aged under 24, and many others who attend group programmes and school holiday activities and other events.

"In this kind of work you have to celebrate success because it's a really challenging environment if you don't do that," general manager Ellen Hall said.

"Our story, it's not a fluffy story, we work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community, their stories are not easy to tell."

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South Taranaki man jailed for punching, choking partner

A man jailed for assaulting his partner needs to take responsibility to break the cycle of violence, a judge says.

Sharn Duane Wikotu, 30, was clearly upset as he stood in the dock for sentencing in the Hāwera District Court on Wednesday on one charge of assault with intent to injure.

"You said 'words can not express how shattered I am', and your reaction today shows me that was not a sham, I accept that," Judge Jim Large said.

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Michelle Robinson: Preparing yourself to hear an uncomfortable answer

OPINION: What happens when you ask a friend how they are and their answer is more than the standard "good, thanks". 

What if you knew the answer would burden you, would you think twice before asking?

I was out having drinks one night when I spotted a woman I knew across the room and went over for a chat. I didn't know Georgia* well except that professionally she was a force to be reckoned with. 

It shocked me to discover then at home, she had been emotionally and physically abused. 

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Taranaki man on trial for sexually abusing young girl

A man is defending an allegation he sexually abused a young girl just hours after welcoming in the New Year.

The Crown allege Tahi Capper arrived at a New Plymouth flat in the early hours of January 1, 2017 after attending a New Year's Eve event and went to a bedroom where the complainant was asleep with her younger brother. 

The address was known to him.

After initially leaving the room when the girl woke up, it is alleged he returned shortly afterwards and touched the girl's private parts.

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Aunty's guilt for niece's abuse after not reporting sex attacker

A sex assault victim says she struggles with guilt for not earlier reporting her attacker - who then went on to abuse her niece.

The defendant was her sister's partner, who had a child with the Taranaki man.

The New Plymouth District Court was told on Tuesday, how he had sexually assaulted the woman when she was 17.

She never reported the offending to police at the time and years later he went on to assault her niece - his own daughter.

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Police refute Facebook post allegations of 'child abuse' outside Whakatāne Police Station

Police have disputed claims of child abuse and neglect following a series of videos filmed outside the Whakatāne Police Station and posted to Facebook last night.

In the first of three videos a man filmed children around a car parked outside the Whakatāne Station. The man said in the video: "these are the babies left in the car".

He asked the children how long they had been left in the car, one replying three hours and the second two hours.

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Child sex offender jailed for three years

A child sex abuse victim told a court she is struggling with depression, self-harm, and disordered eating after the offender made her feel "worthless".

Wilfred Roa, 59, was jailed for three years, three months when he was sentenced in the Nelson District Court on Wednesday for sexually abusing the girl. 

A jury found him guilty in late June on one charge of sexual violation and one of indecent assault. The offending happened when the girl was 11.

Reading her victim impact statement to the court, the girl said she was unable to function in everyday situations, and had missed a year of school.

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New Zealand's primary school leaders experiencing high rates of physical violence

Primary school leaders experience physical violence at 10 times the rate of the general population, a health and wellbeing survey has found.

The New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa report found 41 per cent of principals, deputies and their assistants experienced physical violence, and 38 per cent were subjected to threats in 2017.

Both rates had increased from about 28 per cent in 2016.

Read more…

Category: News Media