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Weekly Media Roundup

October 26, 2018 at 2:45 PM

Major crime survey reaches milestone

Press Release: Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice’s new crime survey – The New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey” (NZCVS) – which started in March, has reached its target this month of interviewing 8,000 New Zealanders over the age of 15 about their experience of crime.

“We believe this to be New Zealand’s biggest crime survey,” says the project director, James Swindells, “and we are delighted to have met our target of 8,000 interviews on deadline with an excellent response rate of 80 percent. We want to thank the thousands of people who gave their time to share their stories.

Mr Swindells says the New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey will provide very valuable information and data for the Ministry of Justice, Stats NZ, Ministry of Social Development, Te Puni Kokiri, the Police, Department of Corrections, Oranga Tamariki, and the Ministry for Women.

 “We are planning for a series of follow-up reports on specific topics, for example, a theme of this survey has been family violence and we will produce a specific paper on this. We also intend to make confidentialised data available for researchers to do their own analysis.”

Read more…


Government agencies are using algorithms to help make decisions

Computer algorithms are being used by government agencies to help make a wide range of potentially life-changing decisions about the treatment of Kiwis, according to a new report.

Police are using software to help predict whether people with a history of family violence are likely to commit crimes against their victims within two years.

Software is also being used by the Corrections Department to forecast the likelihood of inmates re-offending, when they come up for parole hearings.

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Her name was Allie

Writer and poet Paula Harris reflects on a childhood friend’s experience with abuse – and how her own upbringing affected how she viewed that abuse.

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Unassigned: Sex assault claims wait to be investigated

Numbers of unassigned rape cases are climbing rapidly, prompting criticism police are under-resourcing investigations into sexual violence.

The monthly backlog of adult sexual assault files waiting to be assigned to a detective has risen by 78 per cent in two years, to an average 180 each month in the last three months.

The Northland region alone had 45 sexual assault cases unassigned in September, the highest of any police district, and twice that of the next-highest area, Central.

At the same time, official data shows, reporting rates for sexual assault have remained almost unchanged.

"It looks like there's a significant resourcing issue - not enough detectives to cope with the workload," said Victoria University criminologist Jan Jordan, the head of a current study into rape complaints.

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Campus rape: 'A boy came over. I knew him. He left me in my tears'

Some details in this story may be distressing for some readers. 

Going away to university is a rite of passage, a ticket to freedom and young adulthood. But young women say even dorm rooms are not safe, and are calling for action around campus rape.

Stuff investigation found dozens of alleged sexual misconduct complaints recorded by staff at university halls of residence nationwide in the past two years – only a handful of which were reported to police.

Concerns about campus sexual assault are driving tertiary institutions to enlist rape crisis services to educate first-year students on consensual sex.



Royal Commission into state care abuse 'completely stalled' - lawyer

A lawyer working for New Zealand victims of abuse in state care says Australia's apology to their victims of child sexual abuse should embarrass New Zealand into getting on with its own Royal Commision.

The apology from Australia's leader Scott Morrison follows a five year inquiry which found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in the nation's institutions over decades.

Sonja Cooper, who represents some of those abused while in state care in New Zealand said she's disappointed about the slow progress on an inquiry here.

She said New Zealand doesn't even have a terms of reference for its own inquiry, despite consultation finishing at the end of April.



'We are sorry for refusing to trust the words of children'

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has apologised on behalf of the nation to victims and survivors of institutional child sex abuse.

In an address to Federal Parliament, Mr Morrison said there was no promise that could be made and nothing that could be done to right the wrongs of the past.

But he said the nation was now confronting a "trauma" and an "abomination" that had been hiding in plain sight for too long.

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Expand Royal Commission's brief

It will cost more. It will take a lot longer. But New Zealand should follow the Australian example and its Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison led this week an emotional ceremony in which Australia acknowledged the massive pain and suffering caused to many Australians. It gives the victims more chance, at least, to feel they have been listened to and believed.

It shows the abuse, the lack of acknowledgement and the cover-ups were not isolated. The Australian inquiry took five years, and included testimonies from thousands of victims. It revealed a cancer far more common that most thought. Yet, it happened under their noses, and it has happened under ours.

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Kids quiz Jacinda Ardern on 1080, petrol prices, mental health at PM's Picnic

The Prime Minister faced a tough set of questions on Thursday afternoon as she met with school kids from across Wellington.

She said she thought it was important to hear the voices of young people while she reaches towards her goal of making "New Zealand the best place in the entire world to be a child".

Ms Ardern said she's noticed "that the feedback that comes through is that young people and children are thinking about the big issues" - and that was certainly echoed in the discussions she had at her picnic.

It was a mixed bag of answers when Ms Ardern asked the group what they'd do if they were Prime Minister for a day though.

But answers like "get more learning support for children in school" and "change domestic violence" seemed to strike a chord with the Prime Minister.



‘A real long path’: stories of lives locked up

First hand experiences of prison are shared in a new exhibition that provides an insight into the collateral consequences of incarceration.

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Whanganui students clear "No means no!"

Consent, healthy relationships and sexual violence are not the usual topics covered at any school hall assembly.

However, Whanganui City College students were able to discuss these subjects with Miss World NZ Jessica Tyson, a survivor of sexual abuse, who has been visiting schools in her hometown as part of her Beauty with a Purpose charity project, Brave.

Tyson talked with the students about consent, healthy relationships, revenge porn and the ways they can help others and themselves if they were affected by sexual violence.

Student Lenox Eruera Fold says a highlight for him was learning about consent.



Judge forced to step aside from case

A judge has been forced to withdraw from a domestic-violence case because his wife had regular coffee dates with ones of the parties involved.

The judge - referred to in documents as "Judge A" - refused to stand aside from the Dunedin Family Court matter in which a local lawyer ("Ms P") had applied for a protection order against her ex-partner ("Mr Q").

The judge said the lawyer knew his wife "only in the remotest sense" and that any conversations the pair had shared had not been divulged to him.

The fact he was not Dunedin-based meant Ms P would not regularly be appearing before him, which he claimed lent weight to his opinion he should arbitrate the hearing.

But the High Court disagreed.

Justice Warwick Gendall sided with Ms P, whose appeal was heard before him earlier this month.



Talking to therapists still hard for men

Male survivors of sexual abuse still struggle to find therapists they are  willing to share their stories with, a University of Otago academic says.

Dr Tess Patterson, a senior lecturer at the department of psychological medicine, spoke to a group of survivors in Dunedin on Thursday about her research.

Speaking earlier, she told the Otago Daily Times her qualitative research — interviewing nine male survivors of childhood sexual abuse — had identified key themes.

They included feelings of responsibility for the abuse perpetrated upon them, the impact on relationships and sexual development, and issues of control — "that this thing took over their lives", she said.

But it also highlighted the struggle men had to decide to speak about their experiences, and to find a therapist they could connect with and open up to.

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'I really hope that they find a normal life': Alosio Taimo victim shares hopes for abused

A survivor of one of the country's worst child sex offenders hopes all of the young people who were abused can heal.

Alosio Taimo's offending spanned nearly 30 years, with the youngest of the victims being just nine-years-old at the time.

A jury in the High Court at Auckland yesterday returned guilty verdicts for 95 of the 106 charges brought against the former rugby coach, teacher aide and McDonald's manager.

"He was picking them, you know, at an age where they're still naive and they're still old enough to listen to what he has to say about not telling people," the survivor told RNZ.

Read more…


Sex slave case: Solicitor-General appeals sentence for mum who sold teen daughter to men

The Solicitor-General has today appealed for a harsher prison term for an Auckland mum who forced her teen daughter to work as a sex slave, selling her at least 1000 times to men around the city.

In March Kasmeer Lata, 36, was jailed for six years and 11 months for dealing in slaves, dealing in a person under 18 for sexual exploitation, and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person.

Justice Matthew Muir also imposed a minimum period of imprisonment of three years and five months.

Lata, 36, had first forced her daughter to have sex for money with a man on her 15th birthday.

She would go on to sell the girl at least 1000 times for sex.

Read more…


Solomons communities report positive change through justice programme

Isolated communities in Solomon Islands are reporting a reduction in domestic violence and other crimes thanks to a project aimed at improving conflict resolution.

More than 80 percent of Solomon Islanders live in rural and remote areas where even the most basic of government services are non-existent.



Police re-open investigation into death of Christchurch woman Libby McKay

Police are reopening an investigation into the death of Libby McKay, after her mother raised doubts about how she died.

Libby McKay, 27, was driving home from a party with her boyfriend Mike Brown in Christchurch in June 2013 when she fell out of the ute, sustaining serious head injuries.

After she fell out of the vehicle, Mr Brown picked her up off the road, drove to their home in Hornby and then called an ambulance. She died five days later in Christchurch Hospital.

The initial inquest found police had insufficient evidence to consider prosecuting Mr Brown or anyone else.

Ms McKay's mother, Pauline Webby, did not believe the boyfriend's explanation and contacted crash experts.



Christchurch man jailed for 18 years for sexual abuse against five girls

A judge told a Christchurch sex offender he had done "immeasurable" harm to his victims before sentencing him to 18 years in jail.   

The offender sexually abused five girls aged between four and fourteen years old. 

Prior to his sentencing in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday, the 51-year-old sent a letter to the judge where he refused to acknowledge the abuse and denied all wrongdoing. 



Doubling of sexual assault cases in district not abnormal, expert says

A dramatic rise in sexual assault and related offences in the Timaru district have been described by one expert as not abnormal.

The latest police statistics show that offence numbers were stable at 14 between August 2015 and 2016 and 15 between August 2016 and 2017. However, the numbers doubled to 30 between August 2017 and 2018.

High-profile University of Canterbury criminologist Greg Newbold​ said what looks like a doubling in cases is not a "remarkable" spike.


Category: News Media