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Weekly Media Roundup

March 29, 2019 at 1:15 PM

NZ Herald: Synthetic drugs and a hot car: The 'bad dream' life and death of baby Isaiah Neil

Investigation: How social workers missed the 12 danger signs in the life and death of Isaiah Neil, who was left in a hot car while his carers smoked synthetic drugs

At just eight months old, Isaiah Neil was probably New Zealand's youngest victim of synthetic drug addiction.

Heat stroke was the official cause of his death, but it was synthetic drugs that turned his carers into "zombies", which killed him.



Stuff: We finally know the true extent of abuse in state care. It is shocking

ANALYSIS: The figures released this month by Oranga Tamariki into the extent of child abuse in state care are shocking.

There's no way you can look at these statistics – 220 children physically, sexually, and emotionally abused and neglected in a mere six month time period – and not be appalled. 

These children are uplifted from their families, from their homes, to a place that's meant to be safer. In many cases, it is not. In some cases, it is worse. 

The fact it has taken so long for the state to finally come clean about how ill-treated some of our tamariki are – and in particular Māori, who are over-represented in both state care placement and abuse statistics – is shameful.



RNZ: Employers and the Domestic Violence Victims' Protection Act

The Domestic Violence Victims' Protection Act comes into force on Monday, when employers are legally obliged to offer two week's leave for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or a caregiver of a child who is a victim.

The new law also requires business owners to have a policy for dealing with hazards that arise in the workplace due to domestic violence.

But domestic abuse charity Shine says many employers won't be ready for the complexity of dealing with employees who need support at work, and is offering training



NZ Herald: How new domestic violence laws will change the workplace

New Zealand's upcoming employment law changes will require employers to provide support to survivors of family violence.

Family violence is one of New Zealand's most prevalent social problems, with an estimated half a million victims, and the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.

Research shows that half of all workplaces are affected by family violence, with a significant impact on safety and productivity. It is estimated to cost New Zealand businesses more than $368 million annually.

While an important human rights issue, addressing family violence also makes good business sense. Providing a safe and supportive environment for affected staff reduces absenteeism and turnover, and improves productivity and morale.



Newsroom: Two mothers united by evil

Today one of the country's most vicious, calculating killers is sentenced for a second murder of women he befriended, stalked, tortured, raped and killed.

Here, and in the video interviews above, the two women's mothers talk exclusively to Newsroom investigations editor Melanie Reid about the horror of learning of each other's tragedy and loss - and their anger at the killer being released by the Parole Board.



Voxy: Fiona Ross to head family and sexual violence joint venture

The chair of the Social Wellbeing Board’s joint venture, Peter Hughes, today announced the appointment of Fiona Ross to the role of Director Family Violence and Sexual Violence Joint Venture.

Mr Hughes said he was very pleased to appoint Ms Ross who has a wealth of experience in the public sector, particularly developing and delivering on strategy.

Ms Ross is currently Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary Strategy, Performance and Engagement at Treasury.

The joint venture brings together chief executives from across the public service who are working together to end family and sexual violence in New Zealand.

Read more…


Stuff: Sex positivity and the Scandinavian Model: visions for the future of Kiwi sex ed

This week, a survey from Family Planning showed most young people are not getting much out of their sex education. So where are we going wrong, what do other countries do, and how can we make our sex ed world class? Felix Desmarais reports.

Read more…


RNZ: Waikato University gives students tools to prevent sexual violence

Waikato University is taking a proactive approach to consent and sexual violence on its Hamilton campus.

However, it said while incidents of sexual violence were not prevalent or worse than at any other university it wanted to take preventative measures rather than respond after an assault.

The university is encouraging first-year students and in particular those in the Halls of Residence to go online and complete a number of modules.

The modules include areas such as consent and how to negotiate it, what it means for different people, bystander intervention and healthy relationships.

Kellee Hodge is the associate director for student health. She said young people arriving at university came with different views on consent.



Stuff: Toddler found dead on tidal flats at Little Waihi named as Nevaeh Jahkaya Whatukura Ager

The 2-year-old girl found dead on tidal flats near Maketū last Thursday has been named.

She was Nevaeh Jahkaya Whatukura Ager.

Nevaeh's body was found on tidal flats in the close-knit town of Little Waihi after police were initially called to the area because of "reports of a public disorder".

Residents said a man had been running naked in the area.

Police this week begun a homicide investigation into the girl's death after receiving results from an autopsy on her body.



RNZ: Little Waihi residents vow that 2yo Nevaeh Jahkaya Whatukura Ager's death not in vain

A lone pit bull wanders down a gravel road lined by rusty fences.

Lawns are covered in knee-length grass, windows are cracked, and paint is peeling away from small houses dotted along the estuary side.

A security guard keeps watch outside a bright-blue house with police tape hanging across its driveway.

This is Little Waihi - a community that last week was rocked when the body of two-year-old Nevaeh Jahkaya Whatukura Ager was found in the mudflats.

Her body was found after 10.40am on Thursday, 21 March, following a police response to reports of disorder in the area.

Inquiries soon began and on Tuesday, 26 March, police announced the results of an autopsy had caused them to upgrade the investigation to a homicide.



Stuff: Police investigate while child in critical condition in Starship Hospital

Police are investigating after a child was left critically injured in Tauranga.

A police spokesperson said police were called to a property in Maungatapu on March 27 following reports a child had been injured.

"Police are investigating how the injuries were sustained and are conducting inquiries in the Maungatapu area this morning in relation to this investigation."



Newshub: Kids can be more in danger in family care - foster parent

A man who has been fostering kids for 40 years says they are sometimes in more danger being looked after by family than strangers.

Malcolm Yorston and his wife Brenda have fostered more than 100 kids over the past 40 years, and joined The AM Show on Thursday morning to talk about what it takes.

Yorston said foster care in New Zealand had a bad name, but statistics said that children are often worse off being fostered within their family than by strangers.



E-Tangata: The connection between white supermacy and colonisation

By Moana Jackson.

Many words have already been spoken and written about last week’s massacre of Muslim people in Christchurch. Words that, in their own way, came from the same place of pain — political announcements, opinions in mainstream and social media, and, most movingly, the public outpourings of sympathy and aroha for the relatives of the victims and the Muslim community as a whole.

The words have been well-meaning, even if they might have been of only passing solace in a time of seemingly inconsolable sadness.



Stuff: Kids process tragedies differently to adults

OPINION: I am writing this at 2pm on Friday. A week on from the Christchurch mosque killings. I observed the two minutes silence and incredibly moving call to prayer amongst a crowd of strangers.

I sobbed, as quietly as I could, but for me it felt as though a week's worth of tears could finally come.

I have spent the last seven days oscillating between utter grief, horror, outrage, anger, fear and pride, and have really struggled, as I suspect most people have, to process why such an incredible atrocity should happen here, in our peace-loving country, to such gentle, peaceful, humble people.

It strikes me as I write that if we, as adults, are struggling to deal with this, then how does it feel for our children? How can they begin to make sense of the senseless – to read and see images of people their own age, whose lives should just have been beginning, but instead have been cut short?



Stuff: Few male sexual abuse survivors seeking help after Leaving Neverland, support group says

Few male survivors of sexual abuse are seeking help in the wake of Leaving Neverland, Better Blokes says.

Philipe Eyton is the North Shore facilitator for the Auckland-based organisation, which works with male sexual abuse victims. 

Eyton said the documentary #Mentoo, which screened on TV in 2018, encouraged some male viewers to seek help but Leaving Neverland, which detailed the alleged abuse of two boys at the hands of Michael Jackson, had little response.

He said that was concerning as figures, based on 16.66 per cent on the population, showed there were about 140,000 men in Auckland who were victims of sexual abuse.



Newsroom: NZ is complacent on human rights

In the wake of the Christchurch attack there have been reports of a rise in Islamophobic sentiment and comment. Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt tells Laura Walters now is the time to focus on the country’s shortcomings.

Read more…


The Spinoff: I’m struggling to be a journalist in New Zealand right now

The media needs to take some responsibility for the prejudice that Muslims and other minorities have faced in New Zealand, writes Shilo Kino. 

Read more…


Christchurch mosque shootings: Does New Zealand need hate speech laws after terror attacks?

The effects of the Christchurch terror attacks will be felt for years if not decades to come.

Our laws are already changing.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week banned military-style semi-automatic firearms - the type of weapon used by the alleged terrorist to kill 50 people at two mosques. New gun laws are expected to be passed through Parliament under urgency by April 11.

Now, academics, journalists and social commentators are considering what other legislation could be passed or revised to prevent another attack of the such enormity.

And hate speech appears to be the obvious choice.



Stuff: Taranaki Women's Refuge receives record number of summer referrals

The Taranaki Women's Refuge received a record number of police referrals over the summer as domestic violence in the region reached an all-time high.  

The organisation accepted 660 referrals from December 1, 2018, to 31 January, 2019. That figure is up from 524 the previous summer, a season known for family violence to peak due to the stresses of Christmas and the school holidays. 

Meanwhile, a police officer who has spent 10 years dealing with the issue has spoken of his frustration that families are not accepting free help.



Stuff: For women, what happens online is not virtual

One legacy of the sexualised trolling of Aussie female footballer Tayla Harris is that a line was drawn by a shocked community: such vile misogyny online is intolerable.

Another is the understanding that for women – the main targets of gendered abuse – any remnants of a safety barrier between online and "real life" have gone; as far as potential impact is concerned, it's all the same thing.

After the Harris trolling-backlash, sexists looking for women to victimise were put on notice that they are being watched, which is great.

But ordinary online users had a stark reminder, too, that we need to be on guard for tangible harms to which we may be exposed in a place we once considered somehow slightly removed.



Whanganui Chronicle: Lets talk law: Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

In most countries, including New Zealand, both parents usually have to agree before a child sets off overseas. For whatever reason, it doesn't always happen that way.

The remaining parent can be left, not holding the baby as it were. A local court in one country has no power to order a child back home from another.

This is where The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction can pop up. It sounds full on. It is also likely most parents wouldn't know what it is.

The convention deals with the situation above. It sets out the rules that member countries have agreed should apply when considering to send a child back home.

Read more…


Stuff: Women's prison scandal: how 'abhorrent' searches came to light

An investigation into illegal internal examinations of female prisoners at an Auckland jail brought back horrific memories for the victims, an independent watchdog says.

Auckland University sociologist Professor Tracey McIntosh spoke to prisoners and told Stuff there appeared to have been "a complete misunderstanding" of the law at the Auckland Region women's jail at Wiri.

She said for her independent oversight role when Corrections investigated claims of illegal, intrusive physical searches of female inmates, the prisoners were brought in to see her and a senior Corrections staffer one by one.

The conversations were confidential. The issues raised were distressing and humiliating, bringing back horrific memories.



NZ Herald: Teen boys rated their female classmates based on looks; the girls fought back

Yasmin Behbehani had just walked into her third-period health class when her friend asked her if she had seen the list.

"There's a list of the girls' names," her friend Nicky Schmidt, a fellow senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland, said. "And we're ranked."

They felt violated, objectified by classmates they considered their friends. They felt uncomfortable getting up to go to the bathroom, worried that the boys might be scanning them and "editing their decimal points," said Lee Schwartz, one of the other senior girls on the list.

But there is power in numbers, too. Dozens of senior girls decided to speak up to the school administration and to their male classmates, demanding not only disciplinary action in response to the list but a school-wide reckoning about the toxic culture that allowed it to happen.



Newshub: 'People die rather than ask for help' - suicide survivor

Warning: This article discusses suicide and contains graphic content which may disturb some people.

Through the loss of her friend Jess to suicide, Jazz Thornton has been able to save others. 

The filmmaker's powerful and heart-wrenching five-part series, Jessica's Tree, looks at the life of a young woman, her suicide and the gaps in our attitude toward mental health that saw her fall through the cracks.

In talking to Jessica's parents, friends, primary school teacher and a police officer who wanted to save her, Jazz shows where Jessica's pain came from, how she hurt, her loss of self and importantly, what we can do as a society to make the her life count for something more.



Stuff: Ex-teacher's true nature started to emerge on honeymoon, wife's records finally put him away

When Emily Hicks escaped her abuser she was on foot.

Her only access to a car was blocked by her tormenter, so she grabbed a lantern to light the 18 kilometre trek to the nearest town. It wasn't before long a neighbour heading home saw her light in the darkness and pulled over to help.

Clutched in Hicks' hands that August 2017 evening, was a record of the abuse her husband Leigh Hicks had inflicted. It would be the key to seeing him convicted - and last week jailed for two years and six months, for 12 domestic abuse related charges, including strangulation.  

Emily is determined to share her story in the hope of helping others. She believes quietly documenting her abuse while planning her escape secured the convictions.



Stuff: Auckland man who 'callously' beat partner, causing death, has appeal dismissed

A man whose partner died after he hit her in the head has lost an appeal against his sentence.

Auckland man Kevin Leslie Everett was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison in 2018 for the manslaughter of Lee Hart.

He was ordered to serve a minimum non-parole period of three years and nine months. He then appealed his sentence to the Court of Appeal.

On Tuesday, Justice Stephen Kos released the court's decision dismissing the appeal.



Stuff: Woman admits killing Christchurch mum at party

A 20-year-old woman has admitted murdering a Christchurch woman after an argument over music during a house party.

Katrina Roma Epiha was due to begin a two-week trial in the High Court at Christchurch on Monday, but on Wednesday pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing 32-year-old Alicia Maree Nathan.

No family or supporters for Epiha, or members of the victim's family, were present when the unexpected guilty pleas were entered on charges of murder, and threatening to kill another woman at the same party.



RNZ: Domestic and sexual violence a high cost for Solomons businesses

Domestic and sexual violence in Solomon Islands is costing companies almost two weeks worth of work per employee each year.

Solomon Islands women at the launch of the report on the impact of domestic and sexual violence on Solomon Islands' workplacesSolomon Islands women at the launch of the report on the impact of domestic and sexual violence on Solomon Islands' workplaces Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

That's according to the findings of a new survey on the impact of violence on workplaces in the country.

It was conducted in 2018 by the International Finance Corporation in collaboration with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry with funding from Australia and New Zealand.



RNZ: Fiji woman alleges prolonged sexual abuse in Cooks

A young Fijian woman says she fled to Fiji last week after being sexually abused by a family member in the Cook Islands for six years.

The 20-year-old woman claimed she had reported the matter to the Cook Islands police, but nothing was done.



NZ Herald: Victim blames herself for assault which leads to jail sentence for partner

A woman who was strangled, punched and bitten by her partner turned up to his sentencing and claimed the vicious beating was her own fault.

"I have to say, with all due respect to her, I find that really really sad," Judge Michael Crosbie told the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

Douglas Te Amo, 57, was in the dock, after pleading guilty to wounding with intent to injure and assaulting a female.

It was almost two years to the day since the same judge had jailed him for similar violence against the same woman.



Category: News Media