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Weekly Media Roundup

March 15, 2019 at 2:22 PM

NZ Herald: Law Commission recommends tighter controls for evidence in sexual and family violence cases

There should be tighter controls on allowing a rape victim's previous sexual history or their sexual "disposition" to be admitted as evidence in court, the Government has been told.

And a victim's sexual "reputation" should be completely off-limits, the commission said in its review of the Evidence Act, released today.

Law Commission president Sir Douglas White said the review found that the act was generally working well but could go further to assist victims of sexual and family violence.

"Our consultation highlighted that the process of giving evidence can be particularly stressful for complainants in sexual and family violence cases," he said.

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Stuff: More than 220 children abused in Oranga Tamariki care in 2018

An investigation into abuse in state care has found more than 220 already-damaged children were further harmed in 2018. 

Of the reported abuse, 36 children were sexually harmed, 182 physically harmed, 35 neglected and 83 emotionally harmed by caregivers, family members, other children and Oranga Tamariki staff. 

The majority of the abused were placed with families they had remained with, or returned to, after state intervention; families said to be supported by Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children. 

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NZ Herald: Oranga Tamariki shows full extent of abuse in state care: 220 kids harmed in 6 months

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RNZ: 'Deeply disturbing': More than 200 children abused in state care in 6 months, reports show

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Stuff: Gender equality: Cs might get degrees, but do they get re-election?

OPINION: It's true that this Government is barely even out of nappies. But have they been doing anything for the past 18 months other than crawling round the floor of the Beehive shaking rattles at each other? Does Iain Lees-Galloway look good in a bonnet? Would Shane Jones be sharing his toys?

These are all important questions, and today I will attempt to answer them and others, like: what has this Government achieved for gender equality?

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ODT: 'We did not see it coming': Daughter's death sparks mission

A decade after his daughter's murder, David White still agonises over not doing more to help prevent the tragic circumstances surrounding her violent death.

Mr White visited Oamaru yesterday as part of a nationwide speaking tour on family violence prevention and awareness titled Harm Ends - Futures Begin, that will take in all 71 electorates in 71 days across 120 sessions.

His daughter, Helen Meads, was shot and killed by her husband Gregory Meads at their Matamata property on September 23, 2009, four days after she announced plans to end their 12-year marriage after suffering years of physical abuse.

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ODT: Contributing to social change

Churches in New Zealand have a long history of taking strong positions in the public square on social justice.

In a well known example, William Rutherford Waddell found great inequalities and deprivation in the St. Andrew's parish of Dunedin during an economic downturn in the 1880s.

He was determined the church should make a difference in society. He denounced the ''sin of cheapness'' in an 1888 sermon and criticised conditions of women textile workers who worked long hours in poor conditions for less than a living wage.

Following a campaign covered in the Otago Daily Times, in 1889 Waddell helped to establish the Tailoresses Union, which was New Zealand's first female trade union.

In the recently published report Making a Difference, Richard Davis shares the results of his research into how faith-based organisations (FBOs) can contribute on today's social issues and effectively engage with national and local government in our own times.

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Stuff: Online harassment: the insidious face on an inescapable harm

It started with a few bogus inquiries to her professional website. Then came the flood of calls from plumbers and electricians saying, "We hear you've got urgent work."

Within days it was 60 restaurant confirmations and hotel bookings in one town. Then Bali, Russia, Croatia.

Then he set up a website with her name and profession as the domain name and used that to send hostile emails to people in her name.

This is the insidious, less talked-about face of cyber harassment. A seemingly minor irritation escalates into something life-limiting. It's the persistence and inescapability that makes it so harmful.

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Stuff: Sex offender's admissions to mental health helpline worker used as evidence in court

A convicted sex offender who told a mental health helpline operator he had inappropriately touched his stepdaughter has failed to overturn his convictions.

The rare case reached the Court of Appeal where the man, who cannot be identified, unsuccessfully argued that the admissions he made to a mental health line shouldn't have been used as evidence against him and constituted a miscarriage of justice. 

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Stuff: 'We cooked the baby': Father gives evidence in Donna Parangi manslaughter trial

WARNING: Contains court evidence that some people may find upsetting.

A young father has spoken of the panic-stricken moments when his baby son was found "lifeless" in his cot - and has denied causing bruising and an adult bite mark later discovered on the infant.

Shane Neil and his partner Lacey Te Whetu had been smoking synthetic cannabis on the day their son Isaiah Neil died.

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Stuff: Hot car baby trial: Inside synthetic addicts' household

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Newsroom: ‘Do the same thing, get the same results’

Shelith Hansbro has worked as a prison warden in the United States for almost a decade. While in New Zealand she talked to Laura Walters about the need for correctional facilities and lawmakers to open their minds and try a different approach to justice.

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NZ Herald: As an expert in child sexual abuse here's what I thought when I watched Leaving Neverland

Since Leaving Neverland – the disturbing documentary film about Michael Jackson and the nature of his relationship with two young boys – aired, many of Jackson's fans have said they cannot believe their idol would commit the abuses alleged by the now adult men.

But others watched horrified as stories from the 1980s and 1990s were recounted. Viewers asked: how could this have happened? How did the parents let their children get into such apparently dangerous situations? And why weren't red flags raised at the time?

I'm not going to speculate on the accuracy or otherwise of the two men's stories. But, true or not, they raise important issues which we need to better understand if we are to prevent abuse happening.

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1 News Now: Black Power member tells his story of abuse in wake of Jackson documentary

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Noted: The signs we all missed when a child we knew and loved was being abused

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How do we reckon with Michael Jackson in the wake of Leaving Neverland?

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Stuff: Revenge porn: Is the Harmful Digital Communications Act working?

"I'm going to make you famous," he said. "Keep an eye out on the web." She never thought he'd actually do it.

They'd been broken up a couple of months when the Facebook propositions from strangers started. They'd seen her on a porn site, they said. She thought it was a sick joke. Then she clicked on the link.

"There are no words for it. I started shaking and I cried and my kids looked at me and said, 'Mummy, what's wrong?' It was my older ones – when they've seen it they're like, 'Oh my god'. It's so degrading. I don't think you could belittle anyone the way people do like that."

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RNZ: Young offenders show high rates of neurological impairment

Why do young people commit crimes? How do they get on a path to imprisonment? These are the questions Professor Nathan Hughes has been trying to answer. 

The Sheffield University researcher found high rates of neurodevelopmental impairments, such as ADHD and foetal alcohol syndrome, in the youth offenders he's studied in the United Kingdom.

He says these impairments can cause difficulties with cognition, emotional function, and communication.

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HealthCentral.nz: New Zealand ranks bottom of developed countries on youth mortality rates

New Zealand has the highest death rate for teenagers and young people among 19 of the world’s developed, wealthy countries.

It also ranks poorly in terms of adolescent suicide, pregnancies and deaths related to cancer and respiratory illness.

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Stuff: Spate of harassment at rock concerts leaves radio presenters pleading for change

Groping, rape threats and physical assault; over the past week women have left concerts with harrowing tales of indecent behaviour.

A spate of assaults being reported after concerts has led The Rock radio station to plead with its listeners. Morning announcer Bryce Casey had "just a real simple message" for his listeners: "Don't be d....".

His call for decency followed multiple stories from women who have spoken out about the disgusting behaviour they've encountered at recent rock concerts.

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Waatea News: Violence blights day for wāhine Māori

It’s International Women’s day, and that has a Māori academic questioning the human rights position of wāhine Māori.

Professor Margaret Mutu from the University of Auckland's school of Māori studies says the latest United Nations’ periodic review of New Zealand includes not just eight recommendations to do something about racial discrimination against Māori but also calls to stop violence against Māori women and children.

"This country has an absolutely shocking reputation as having the worst domestic violence in the world, or the OECD. Violence agaisnt women, discrimination against Māori women, violence against Māori women is just totally unacceptable," she says.

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Newshub: Billboard calling for sexual violence support funding erected for International Women's Day

A billboard calling for fully-funded sexual violence services has been stationed outside Parliament to mark International Women's Day.

Fiona McNamara from the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says groups need long-term sustainable funding.

"We cannot afford to have these services fall over, because sexual violence is a huge issue in this country."

The billboard will reference the 13,860 people who have signed petitions that support full funding for specialist sexual violence prevention and support services.

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ODT: Beckenridge mystery: Multiple 'sightings' of missing pair

Police have confirmed they have received multiple potential sightings of missing South Island schoolboy Mike Zhao-Beckenridge and his step-father John Beckenridge.

Wednesday marks four years since Beckenridge, who would now be 68, picked up his stepson from an Invercargill school – in the process breaking a court order – and vanished.

Mike would now be aged 15.

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NZ Herald: Father accused of killing baby boy keeps name secret

An Auckland man accused of killing his 11-month-old son will keep his name a secret, while the reasons for the gag order are also suppressed.

Police arrested the man in November last year and today he appeared in the High Court at Auckland for the second time.

Justice Timothy Brewer outlined the allegations against the man and said: "The deceased baby suffered a subdural haematoma, which the Crown in this case characterises as not accidental."

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RNZ: Tongans urged to look to their culture in fight against violence

An academic says Tongans should look within their culture and church for ways to fight family violence.

A Tongan herself, Ana Koloto attended a recent fono in Auckland to address the issue.

Dr Koloto told Christine Rovoi why Tongans must be courageous and bold, and work together to find solutions to eliminate family violence.

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RNZ: Tuvaluans look to tradition to address family violence

Tuvaluans in New Zealand have been urged to turn to their traditional ways to address family violence.

Sagaa Malua of the Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust, said while the issue is being pushed to the forefront in Tuvalu, the same should be done by her people in New Zealand.

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Waikato women's refuge work celebrated in new book - Stand By Me

I've spent much of the past year writing a book about domestic violence, and I've learned that leaving and staying away from abusive partners is the hardest thing. I wish I could go back and say this to the woman who talked about her abuse. I've learned it takes huge courage to leave, there are many risks, and there may be many attempts before it works. Or not.  You also need unconditional care and support, and dollops of kindness, to help you make changes.

In Hamilton, we're lucky to have that support system, and kindness, at Te Whakaruruhau Waikato Women's Refuge. The book that I've co-authored – with journalist friend Venetia Sherson - is called Stand By Me, and it marks Te Whakaruruhau's 30th anniversary. It was launched on Friday in Hamilton by the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development and Local Government.

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Stuff: Why does this keep happening in rugby league?: 'They clearly don't care'

OPINION: Rugby league's torrid off-season began within hours of the end of the Bulldogs' campaign last September with two players dancing nude in view of the public and one grabbing the other's genitals. Vomiting and passing out in the streets were mere secondary details.

But it would be a tame portent of what was in store for the National Rugby League in an off-season that featured allegations of common assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, sexting and bragging about sexual conquests of women.

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Stuff: Man one of the first in New Zealand to be jailed under new strangulation law

One of the first people in New Zealand sentenced under the new anti-strangulation law, designed to impose harsher penalties on domestic violence perpetrators, has been jailed for nearly three years.

While Jamie Robert Ackland choked his wife of seven years unconscious, he let her know the power he was exerting.

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Stuff: Will we ever know how Karen Ristevski died?

Borce Ristevski has pleaded guilty in an Australian court to the manslaughter of Kiwi woman Karen Ristevski, but he may never reveal how he killed his wife, and he won't have to.

Ahead of his plea hearing on March 27, we explain what comes next.

So what happens now?

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NZ Herald: Child, Youth and Family caregiver pleads not guilty to sexual, physical abuse charges

A former Child, Youth and Family caregiver will keep his name secret after being accused of sexually abusing more than a dozen boys.

The Auckland man faces 43 total charges against 17 boys.

The 50-year-old appeared in the High Court at Auckland this morning for the first time and pleaded not guilty to all the allegations.

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Stuff: Former Nelson guidance counsellor censured after domestic assault

A former Nelson school guidance counsellor has been censured by a teachers disciplinary body after he was convicted of assaulting his former wife.

The disciplinary tribunal, in a decision released this week, said Glazier's use of violence "clearly adversely reflects on his fitness to teach".

"Mr Glazier's sustained and severe assault on his former partner must be considered in the context of the well-documented problem that New Zealand's high incidence of domestic violence poses," the tribunal said.

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Stuff: Man who beat his partner to death declined parole

A man who isolated his partner from her family, wrote her improvement lists, then beat her to death has been declined an early release from prison.

Jesse John Stuart Ferris-Bromley, 25, had his first appearance before the Parole Board in February.

He is serving seven years and 10 months' jail for the manslaughter of Virginia Ford in Palmerston North on March 13, 2015.

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NZ Herald: South Island teacher touched, forcibly kissed 9-year-old schoolgirl

A South Island teacher has admitted sexually assaulting a schoolgirl more than six years ago.

The teacher, in his 60s, touched and forcibly kissed a 9-year-old girl in 2012.

She was scared and when she tried to run away, she noticed the man's exposed penis, the Greymouth District Court heard today.

The man earlier admitted a charge of doing an indecent act on a 9-year-old child between August 31 and September 30, 2012.

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Category: News Media