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Weekly Media Roundup

October 12, 2018 at 12:59 PM

Founder of New Zealand’s first women’s refuge

Press Release: Ara Institute

At just 21 years of age, Rosemary Howard co-founded the first women's refuge in Christchurch, which was quickly inundated with victims of domestic abuse, uncovering a then little-recognised problem. It was also the first women’s refuge in New Zealand and the third in the Western world.

Howard will speak about her experiences - how the first women’s refuge started, what happened as a result of lifting the lid on domestic violence and the myths surrounding that violence that kept women enslaved – at the Ara City Campus library on 17 October at 12 noon.



Youth counsellor designs app for witnesses to domestic violence

A Northland therapist is set to release a digital app designed to help health professionals engage with youth who have witnessed domestic violence. 

Mid North Family Support manager Davina Smolders has led the development of Kia Wehikore, Witnessing Family Harm app, which will be used with 12 to 14-year-olds to identify ways to keep themselves safe if they are in a home with domestic violence.

Read more…


The Side Eye: Drug Zealand

We’ve been talking about kindness and empathy when it comes to drugs, but how far are we willing to take it? What would decriminalisation of all drugs look like?

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Police to begin nationwide drug-testing of waste water

Police will begin testing wastewater networks for several types of drugs across the country after a pilot programmes were conducted in Auckland, Christchurch and Whangarei.

Testing for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, MDMA and Fentanyl has been conducted at treatment sites in the three cities since 2016, police said, and they are now expanding the programme to include a total of 38 sites across 12 police districts.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said testing like this gives good intelligence on the prevalence and usage of various drugs in different communities, which gives police guidance on where they should concentrate their efforts.

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Addiction courts save millions in prison costs

Two alcohol and drug courts have saved $28.7 million in prison costs over a six year pilot. Reporter Teuila Fuatai spent a day in one of the courts, and got an inside view of what could be one answer to NZ’s unsustainable prison system.

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Smacking prosecution likely result of 'over energetic' police officer - expert

A legal expert has defended the anti-smacking law after a Picton father was taken to court for smacking his four-year-old.

The man, who has name suppression, was discharged without conviction after a complaint was laid against him by the child's mother.

Massey University professor of humanities Chris Gallavin said the case was likely an oddity, but does not represent a failure of the 2007 amendment to the Crimes Act.

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Smacking kids is not acceptable, it's barbaric

OPINION: The subject of smacking kids raised its ugly head again on Wednesday after a Picton father was taken to court for smaking his child.

The man, who has name suppression, was discharged without conviction after a complaint was laid against him by the child's mother.

A poll on the AM Show the same morning revealed that most of New Zealand is still stuck in the dark ages and in favour of smacking kids to discipline them.

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Cyber bullying: The growing menace costing NZ $444m

Online bullying comes with a massive financial burden.

new report by economist Shamubeel Eaqub has found cyber bullying costs the country $444 million a year.

It's the first report that puts a financial figure on the social cost of being bullied, harassed and threatened online.

The report - commissioned by Netsafe - has used overseas research along with a UMR survey of thousand people here.

It said while the number of victims might be small the damage was huge and calculates the cost to family and friends of the unpaid hours spent dealing with the damage at $347m a year.

The figure doesn't take into account long-term effects on mental and physical health, along with lost productivity.

Read more…


How can we understand today’s children?

Our understanding of childhood is always in flux. The subservient child of the Middle Ages became the malleable child of the 18th century – the open page upon which the print of education left its indelible mark. Closer to our own time, the child under protection (1870–1940) changed to the vulnerable child (1945–1975), exposed to the world as mothers entered the workforce in increasing numbers, and lastly to the participatory child (1975–2010) with a louder and louder voice.

Where are we now? We have children who dream of becoming YouTube superstars, observed by many and observing many from the safety of the screen in their bedroom. A common complaint from parents is their children are far from participatory and so the participatory child who negotiates within the family, school and society sounds somewhat outdated. Meanwhile, we seem to have returned to the rights of the child, this time clothed not in terms of protection from too much labour or capital punishment but of protection from males or child pornography or the power of the internet, where cyberbullying among adolescent peers and children has become rife.

How might we understand the child of today? A story that is not uncommon might point us in the right direction.

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Women's refuge struggling amid housing crisis

The Invercargill Women's Refuge is struggling to find long-term housing for women in crisis because of a shortage of housing in Southland.

In fact, the situation is so bad, Refuge services co-ordinator Cathye Robertson said some women were staying in an abusive relationship because they had nowhere to go, even though they wanted to move out.

She described it as a crisis.

She knows of some women now living in motels while they looked for transitional housing or long-term accommodation.

Read more…


'I got strangled': Golriz Ghahraman opens up on surviving domestic violence

Golriz Ghahraman has revealed she's a survivor of domestic violence.

In an interview with Vice, the Green MP discussed the disproportionate amount of threatening messages she receives online - more, she says, than politicians much more powerful than her.

She said she's had first-hand experience with how verbal abuse can quickly spiral into physical violence because she was once in a deeply unhealthy relationship.

Read more…


Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald: My concerns about Mental Health Awareness Week


You'd think Mental Health Awareness Week would be one of my favourite weeks of the year.

But you'd be wrong. Fact is, I feel deeply conflicted about it, and no more so than this year.

In principal, it's a good idea: that we take some time to raise awareness about mental health, to talk more openly about what helps and the impact of mental health problems.

This year the Mental Health Foundations theme is "Let Nature In".

But is it what we really need to be spending so much time and money on at the moment? And is there even a downside to this approach?

There is a fundamental, and dangerous confusion that takes place when we talk about "mental wellbeing" interchangeably with "mental illness" or even "mental distress," which this week's theme does.

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Does Mental Health Awareness Week actually change anything for people with mental illnesses?

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week so your Facebook feed is awash with encouragement to “reach out”. It’s important people know they can reach out if they need help – but what happens next, asks Emily Writes.

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David Cormack: Brett Kavanaugh - why we should care


Over the weekend in the United States a new Supreme Court Justice was sworn in. His name is Brett Kavanaugh and you may have seen some controversy over his appointment.

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. He then appers to have lied when being interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But the thing with the Kavanaugh appointment is that it directly impacts on New Zealanders' lives. Think of the message it sends.

What we are saying, and what gets heard all around the world where coverage is shown, is that to come forward with sexual assault allegations means you will be mocked. That powerful men in powerful positions will not give you any credibility, they will ridicule you and make you a laughing stock using their immense platforms.

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Wellington Police target 'predatory behaviour' in town on weekends

What's one way to prevent sexual assaults on a boozy Friday night in the city?

"Embarrass the kids."

Detective Sergeant Grant Carroll has no qualms walking up to a "canoodling" couple in an alleyway around Wellington's Courtney Place and asking blunt questions.

"How do you know she's consenting?" He'll ask.

Most of them can't answer. "They're too plastered."

But an intrusion from the police can be what it takes to break the spell for an intoxicated potential victim who doesn't actually want to be there.

The embarrassment is worth it to prevent a sexual assault report rolling in a couple of days later.

Read more…


Auckland homeless count numbers in: About 3000 without permanent housing

Auckland's mayor says about 800 people were sleeping rough in Auckland last month and living a "miserable existence" which no one should experience.

Along with 800 people currently living in Auckland without shelter, there are another 2874 people including 1299 children in temporary and emergency accommodation, according to initial figures released from the Ira Mata, Iri Tangata: Auckland's Homeless Council by Auckland mayor Phil Goff today.

Goff said the latest data, collected by volunteers walking the streets of Auckland who counted 179 people sleeping rough and 157 sleeping in cars, would be used to inform policy and services to solve the pressing issue.

A validation exercise showed that this represented just 40 per cent of people living without shelter.

Read more…


Donated art to be auctioned to help tackle domestic violence

Often art is for art's sake, but the months a Taranaki painter has put into his creative works will pay off in another way this week.

On Friday, two of John McLean's paintings - The Offering and Invocation Over Arid Land - will go under the hammer in a bid to boost the coffers of Taranaki Women's Refuge.

The well-known artist has regularly supported the biennial event and said violence in society was an ongoing issue.

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Former senior members of charity face fraud charges

Two former employees of a charity that offered domestic violence prevention services are facing fraud charges.

Tapualii Raewyn Uitime, 47, and Betty Leuina Sio, 54, entered no plea when they appeared at the Manukau District Court today.

Ms Uitime, who was the operations manager at the now defunct Pacific Island Safety and Prevention Project, also known as the Project, faces 26 charges of dishonestly using a document and 11 charges of forgery.

Ms Sio, who was the charity's chief executive, faces four charges of dishonestly using a document.

The Auckland-based organisation received government funding for a range of social support services.

Read more…


'As bad as it gets': Teen rapes mother in front of 7yo daughter

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: A teenager has been jailed for eight years for the brutal rape of a Hamilton woman in front of her 7-year-old daughter.

The woman was asleep in her bed with her daughter on the morning of April 7, this year.

At 7am, peaking after a two-day bender on methamphetamine, Lorenz Shannyn Mekuli would then enter her life and commit acts a Hamilton judge today described "as bad as it gets".

After clambering through a partially opened window, he rummaged through her handbag.

The burly, 183cm gang associate then walked into her bedroom and found her in bed asleep with her daughter.

She asked him what he wanted but he jumped on the bed and started strangling them both.



Dunedin man wanted to 'drag ex to her death'

A Dunedin man said he wanted to put a chain around his ex-girlfriend's neck, tie her to his vehicle and drag her do her death, a court has heard.

Iliya Alexi Thomas Young (26) was a patient at Wakari Hospital at the time, in August and September last year, and he made the comments to various health professionals, whose concerns led them to contact the police.

Judge Kevin Phillips told the Dunedin District Court this weke the defendant's mental health issues were "rampant" at the time but his state was now much improved.

"People can say that type of comment, 'I want to kill someone', in moments of stress.

"Where the difficulty arose was that you then said how you were going to do it," the judge said.

Young's plans involved a slew of violent acts, detailed in court documents.

Read more…


Born to be mild: Bikers will 'stand up' at fundraising event for Aviva

When Allan Townsend found himself sitting in his Christchurch lounge, upset, at 2am one morning last year, it proved a life changing moment.

"I had been upset and shouting after a disagreement," he said. "I knew I didn't want to be the kind of man who shouted any more so I did something about it."

He sought advice and support from family violence service Aviva to improve his communication and relationship skills.

Read more…


Man on trial for raping three women and a child

A man used violence and made a woman perform a sex act in front of her children in a car, the Crown told the High Court in Auckland.

The man, who has name suppression, has denied 14 charges including rape, indecently assaulting a child and threatening to kill.

Most of the charges date back to the 1970s.

In his opening address, Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey told the jurors they would hear evidence from four women who would tell them they were raped by the same man, four decades ago.

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Support systems not set up to handle #MeToo 'tsunami', survivor says

The first time Sarah set foot in a police station it was to let go of a secret she had been holding onto for 35 years.

As a teenager, Sarah, who does not want her last name used, was allegedly sexually assaulted.

Last year, aged in her 50s, she reported the alleged assault to police. After a nine-month police investigation, the case was closed before making it to court.

What she saw over those months was an "under-resourced, fragmented" system "not ready for [the] tsunami" it was facing in the wake of the #MeToo movement, she said.

Read more…


Man jailed for sexual remarks to 8-year-old girl

When Robin Abraham needed a place to live, his friends agreed to put him up, but he repaid them by making ''vile'' sexual comments to their 8-year-old daughter.

Now the victim's parents are devastated they let their girl down and have left the house where the incident happened.

Read more…


Six years' jail for raping ex-partner

A Central Otago shearer who raped his ex-partner while making their children wait in the car outside has been jailed for six years.

The 39-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court for sentence yesterday after being found guilty of the charge by a jury at the end of a trial in August.

Through a statement, the victim said the verdict was vindication and she felt proud she found the strength to tell her story to a courtroom full of strangers.

She had gone to police with the complaint to ``set a good example'' for her three children but had been unable to explain to them where their father had gone after he was remanded in custody at the trial's conclusion.

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Social worker who sat on girl now working at Auckland school

A social worker who sat on a teen and punched a co-worker in the face is now working at an Auckland primary school.

Uila Esera was charged with conduct unbecoming of a social worker and de-registered over the incidents, which took place while he was working at the Whakatakapokai Care and Protection Residence in 2013.

Read more…


Revealed: Riverhead quarry rapist's previous convictions

The previous conviction for a repeat rapist who committed a violent attack in the Riverhead quarry near Auckland can now be reported for the first time.

The 60-year-old truck driver from Onehunga, Colin Jack Mitchell, was convicted of kidnapping, causing grievous bodily harm and assaulting a woman with intent to sexually violate her in March.

DNA from the quarry scene linked him to a historic rape case that had gone unsolved for 25 years. The jury found him guilty of that attack as well.

But what the jury did not know what that Mitchell had raped before.

Read more…

Category: News Media