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Weekly Media Roundup

December 07, 2018 at 1:33 PM

'Where do we put them?' The story of New Zealand's mental health inquiry

There is a battle between what people with mental illness need, and what their families want. Jessica McAllen heard this first-hand at 15 of the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry's public meetings.

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The Inquiry: How to understand the mental health system

The Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry's public meetings showed a divide in opinion between family members and people who live with mental illness. Now, JESSICA MCALLEN dives into the specifics of the system and what needs fixing.

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‘Once in a generation’: The crucial passages from the mental health inquiry

hugely important report seeks to effect a ‘paradigm change’ in NZ mental health services. Here are the essential findings and recommendations.

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‘There are so many problems’ – Jan Logie explains new family violence laws

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Sophie Elliott's mum backs law criminalising strangulation

The mother of murdered woman Sophie Elliott hopes a new strangulation offence could help others avoid her daughter's fate.

The new offence of strangulation or suffocation will from today carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. Previously there was no separate offence for strangulation as it was treated as assault.

These changes, as part of the Family Violence Amendment Act, are designed to help curb family violence. The legislation was spearheaded by the former National government and passed unanimously last month.

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Strangulation criminalised under new law

mother whose daughter was strangled twice before she was murdered says a new strangulation offence is a "significant improvement" on how serious assaults are dealt with.

The new strangulation or suffocation offence came into effect on Monday with a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment as part of the Family Violence (Amendments) Act, replacing the Domestic Violence Act. The act rolls out in two phases, with the second to begin in July next year.

Three new family violence offences were introduced: strangulation, coercion to marry, and assault on a person in a family relationship.

Alexsis Tovizi​, a 21-year-old mother-of-one, was killed by her ex-boyfriend, Nikki Roper, with a sleeper hold at her Christchurch flat on December 4, 2010. The killing happened just five days after he was released from prison for an earlier assault where he choked her.

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Strangulation a red flag for future serious abuse

Opinion: The Christmas season is upon us and that means Women's Refuges face their busiest time of the year, writes by Catriona MacLennan*.

While some families will be enjoying presents and parties, others will become part of our grim statistic of one domestic violence event every seven minutes.

Aotearoa has the highest reported rate of intimate partner violence in the developed world and, in human terms, that means some families will lose mothers and children by the end of the festive season.

In one summer holiday period, six women were killed by their partners - leaving 19 children orphaned - and one child died as a result of domestic violence injuries.

New laws took effect this week with the aim of reducing this abhorrent toll. They include three additional offences: Strangulation; assault on a person in a family relationship; and coerced marriage or civil union.

The reason for a specific offence of strangulation is that it is a type of asphyxiation that is now understood to be one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence.

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Editorial: Strangulation the edge of homicide

EDITORIAL: A new law came into effect this week that carves out strangulation as a new criminal offence.  

It applies especially in cases of domestic violence, where strangulation has a notably baleful record.

Research from the United States showed that victims of strangulation are up to seven times more likely to be later murdered by their intimate partners compared to victims of other types of domestic violence. 

"Strangulation is, in fact, one of the best predictors for the subsequent homicide of victims of domestic violence," found a report to the American Bar Association in 2011.

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Auckland man first person charged under new strangulation law

A 21-year-old man is the first person to be arrested and charged with strangulation under new family violence legislation.

The Auckland man was charged in relation to a domestic violence incident on Monday, under legislation that came into effect on the same day, police said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Ellwood said the fact that the new legislation was used so soon after being introduced was significant.

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One in four pre-teens exposed to pornography - survey

More than two-thirds of New Zealand teenagers have been exposed to pornography, and one in four have seen it by the age of 12, according to the results of a new survey.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification surveyed more than 2000 teens aged between 14 and 17 for a research project called 'NZ Youth and Porn.'

The main reason teenagers looked at porn was curiosity, followed by accidental exposure, entertainment, sexual arousal, pleasure or boredom.

The research found 72 percent of teenagers who had seen porn recently saw things that made them feel uncomfortable, and 42 percent of regular viewers said they would like to spend less time looking at porn, but found this hard to do.

Overall, the research found young people thought porn was too easy to access.

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What the censor’s report says about teens and porn – and what should happen next

A major new investigation by the Classification Office confirms that exposure to porn is widespread among NZ teens, and is affecting the way they think about and experience sex. OK, says high school teacher and writer Bernard Beckett – so what do we do about it?

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Rangatahi Māori want access to online porn restricted

New research has found that 73% of Māori youth would like to see online access to porn restricted. The Office of Film and Literature Classification released their findings on NZ youth and porn this week. 

A survey of 2000 youth included 347 of Māori descent. Researchers say watching patterns were similar among different ethnicities, but Māori youth were more likely to come across porn by accident, to discuss what they had seen with their whānau and most vocal about online access restrictions. 

It's the first breakthrough study of its kind which found 67% of youth between 14 and 17 years have been exposed to pornography.  65% said they watched porn on their phones within the last six months, 15% admitted to watching porn regularly and 72% said online access should be restricted. 

Many of the respondents found pornography educational. 

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Police surround school to force boy to visit dad

Last Friday police arrived at an Auckland school. They were not there for student safety, they were there to assist with a warrant to ensure a boy went on a weekend visit with his father.

Hundreds of pupils were made to wait in the assembly hall while the 12-year-old boy was escorted out and delivered to his father by the school principal amidst police presence. 

The police intervention was the outcome of events which started with the child confiding in a teacher about an event which occurred during a Labour Weekend bush walk. 

The boy claimed the father (who has custody of him every second weekend) dangled him over the side of a high bridge. There were boulders below and a fall would have most likely resulted in injury, if not death. 

Despite a police complaint about the claim, the boy was not interviewed by police regarding the dangling incident before they closed the file. 

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Thousands sign petition demanding full funding for sexual violence support services

Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation has delivered a 7800-strong petition to Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson on Thursday morning.

The petition is calling for sexual violence prevention and support services to be fully funded in the 2019 Budget.

Chief Executive of HELP Foundation Conor Twyford says that "over the past 8 years, we have been consistently getting more [calls for help] every year. This year we were contracted to see 300 people, and in the first five months we surpassed that".

Less than two percent of the current budget goes towards prevention - Ms Twyford likens this to being "the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff".

"Once you're past the crisis period, there can be up to a four month wait for counselling. And that can be really harmful."

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Isolation, finances, domestic violence at Christmas cause influx of 'high risk' calls to Lifeline

Crisis call centre Lifeline is introducing 100 new counsellors to cope with the Christmas holiday period.

The helpline received more than 10,000 calls last December. It takes an average six calls a day from people in severe distress — double the amount just three years ago.

Lifeline's clinical manager Renee Matthews said the number of calls during the holidays typically remained similar — but the nature of those calls was more harrowing and demanded more attention.

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Hutt City domestic violence victims struggle to find housing

Hutt City Women's Refuge says their safe house is at crisis point trying to find long-term accommodation for women in the community.

Refuge manager Philippa Wells said a shortage of cheap, affordable rental properties in the Hutt region meant some women and their families were waiting three to six months to find a place to live after they had been in the refuge.

In the 15 months Ms Wells has worked at the refuge, she said she had seen a noticeable difference in housing availability.

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Silence, tears and talking - restorative justice not a soft option

Silence, tears and talking are key features of the restorative justice process where offenders and their victims come face to face to talk about the crime.

The voluntary process is an opportunity for victims to tell offenders about how the crime has affected them, how it could be put right and ask questions about what happened. Offenders can take responsibility for their offending, apologise to the victim and decide how to put right the harm they have caused.

Restorative justice (RJ) comes into the mix after an offender enters a guilty plea or is found guilty and before they are sentenced. A judge decides if RJ should be explored and, if it goes ahead, a report on the RJ conference is provided to the court and may be taken into account by the judge in sentencing.

RJ services are run by community-based groups contracted by the Ministry of Justice.

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New Zealand woman stuck in Australia fighting custody battle

A New Zealand mother forced back to Australia under the Hague Convention is unable to return home while in a child custody battle - even though her former partner has done.

Sarah, which is not her real name, was forced back to Australia last year after fleeing the country with her children due to escalating mental and psychological abuse from her partner.

While the father had ordered their return to Australia through the child abduction agreement, he has since moved home to New Zealand, leaving the mother and her daughter stuck across the ditch because a no-fly order had been issued on their youngest daughter.

Sarah has been representing herself in the Australian courts after she was denied legal aid to fight the child custody battle.

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Jailed for six years and nine months for torturing a baby for weeks

With her abused baby's broken neck in a brace, a mother was unable to hold her child for 37 days.

On Thursday she had to tell a court that she was going to lose custody of her child and was unable to be alone with the baby, only allowed to see him for 90 supervised minutes a week.

The woman and her baby cannot be identified but the man in court was Benjamin Lim, charged with two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

For the first six weeks of the baby's life he shook and squeezed the infant, so much so the baby stopped breathing at least once.

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Victim offers gift to rapist, urging him to change and to become an asset to society

A rape victim gave her attacker a heartfelt gift and a few words of advice before he was sentenced to preventive detention.

Courtney Curry, 26, raped the woman in Hastings early on the morning of April 29.

His victim had been with a friend listening to a band play at a bar in the city centre. At 1am she left the bar.

Justice Karen Clark sentenced Courtney Curry in the High Court at Napier.

It was raining heavily so she sought shelter under the eaves of some shops.

Her next recollection was "coming to" in the back seat of a vehicle as a man, unknown to her at the time but later revealed to be Curry, was raping her.

The woman told Stuff she had been preparing for months to deliver her victim impact statement to court.

It covered the profound effect the rape had had on her life, and the challenges she faced still, before addressing him directly

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Frightened grandmother wet herself during grandson's verbal attack

A Taranaki grandmother was so frightened by her grandson's verbal abuse towards her that she wet herself and then cowered until it was safe to flee her own home.

Isaiah Tamati Vaagi Talau had become enraged when his 60-year-old victim refused to hand over her cellphone to him, a police summary of facts outlined.

The July 2 incident, which occurred at a New Plymouth address with three young children present, erupted about 8pm when Talau, 21, confronted his grandmother about relationship issues he was having with his partner. 

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Sharing a cell with a sex offender 'absolutely inhuman'

Hundreds of sex offenders are being placed in shared prison cells despite warnings that it is dangerous and should be stopped.

Figures from Corrections show that in October this year there were 674 double bunked inmates who had a previous or current sex offence.

An advocate for sex abuse survivors, Ken Clearwater, said sharing a cell with a sex offender could be terrifying for inmates who had been raped in the past.

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Queenstown man jailed for 'grossly reckless' arson of house where kids were sleeping

A Queenstown man who set fire to his former partner's home while she and her children were sleeping has been jailed for more than four years.

Dillan Wilson, 22, a blocklayer, was in a relationship with the woman for nearly a year before they broke up.

About 3am on May 16, he went into the garage of her home in Rere Rd, Lake Hayes Estate, and lit a fire on the back seat of her car.

The woman, her two daughters and a 19-year-old nephew got out of the house without injury, but the car, garage and house were extensively damaged despite the efforts of about 20 firefighters.

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Navy rape survivor hails Defence Force promise to talk first with victims, rather than fighting them through the courts

The Defence Force is looking to deal face-to-face with victims of sexual harassment and abuse rather forcing them into expensive and confrontational court battles.

The assurance came from Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, in a private meeting with survivors of convicted Air Force rapist Robert Roper. 

"One of the things we agreed at the meeting was that having victims/survivors going to and through court can be a damaging and retraumatising experience, and if there are ways of avoiding that then I want to look at the options," Clark said. 

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Sports coach accused of sexually abusing athlete

A sports coach accused of sexually abusing one of his athletes is standing trial in the Auckland District Court.

The man, who has name suppression, has pleaded not guilty to five charges of sexual violation, relating to alleged offences in Auckland and Christchurch.

He is accused of repeatedly forcing himself on a female athlete whom he had trained since she was a teenager.

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'Deviant' architect jailed for possession of hundreds of child exploitation images

An accomplished architect caught with hundreds of child exploitation images had a deviant mindset and little insight into his offending, according to a court report.

In an international police sting, computers and storage devices owned by Neville Kingsley Saunders were found to have 559 media files and images, mostly depicting young boys who were either naked and posing suggestively, or engaged in sexual activity with another child or adult.

Two videos taken with Saunders' phone were also found and deemed objectionable.

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Hague Convention to protect children, no law change at this stage - Minister

Over the past two weeks several cases have emerged of New Zealand women fleeing domestic violence being forced back to Australia because of a convention signed in 1980 which forces "abducted" children to return to their country of origin.

Nearly 40 years on, lawyers have said the convention is outdated, and being used to revictimise women who have fled abusive relationships.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said he wasn't looking to make any law changes in New Zealand at this stage.

However, it was not acceptable for any woman to feel as if they're being "forced back" into situations of violence that they're trying to flee from, he told Morning Report.

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Man sentenced in Whanganui after kids see him assaulting partner in Springvale

Quick-thinking children have saved a woman from a severe beating in a Whanganui car park.

The woman was being attacked by her partner in the Springvale Stadium car park on Saturday night.

The homeless couple were in their car when the attack occurred and the woman opened the car door and called for help.

The children saw what was happening and ran off for help, finding a nearby police car.

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Category: News Media