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Weekly Media Roundup

April 03, 2020 at 4:39 PM

Newshub: How the COVID-19 lockdown has created a 'perfect storm' for domestic violence

Scientists are predicting domestic violence will "flourish" in the stringent lockdown conditions needed for New Zealand to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr Denise Wilson, a professor of Māori Health at AUT University's Taupua Waiora Māori Research Centre says New Zealand's lockdown response to the COVID-19 pandemic has created a "perfect storm" for domestic abuse.

New Zealand will be at Alert Level 4 for a minimum of four weeks - this means all non-essential businesses such as cafes, gyms and workplaces have closed. People are urged to stay in their homes unless they need food or medicine. 

"Our daily sense of normality has suddenly gone, and our world has shrunk to the size of our house," she said in a statement on Thursday.

"No longer do we have the option of escape to work, the gym or other outlets when we are stressed."

Dr Wilson says it is crucial families talk to one another and figure out how to navigate their new normal.



1 News: Domestic violence on the rise in Kiwi homes as coronavirus lockdown has unintended consequences

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed that there has been a rise in domestic violence in Kiwi homes that appears to correlate with the nationwide four-week lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Bush was speaking to media today about the police's latest movements enforcing the Covid-19 lockdown when he addressed the rise in family violence at home.

"We haven't had a significant increase in family violence and family harm through reports but I am aware from those who are working on the ground, particularly in areas like Counties Manukau and others, that there has been an increase," he said.

"It is an absolute priority for us to attend and respond to these incidents so if it is happening in your place, please call us, and if you're responsible for that kind of thing, stop. Be kind and be compassionate."

During a separate appearance today in front of the Epidemic Response Select Committee, the outgoing police commissioner added that the numbers probably don't reflect the actual amount of domestic violence.



NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus: Domestic violence victims are trying to keep their children safe in lockdown. Their path is fraught.

For victims of domestic violence and their children, the lockdown poses an extra risk. Kirsty Johnston reports.

As soon as Amy heard that New Zealand was going into lockdown last Monday, she thought of her daughter, and began to panic.

"I was like, ''oh god what am I going to do, she's not with me, it could be weeks before she can come back,'" Amy says. "I began to worry about her safety."

Amy's daughter is eight-years-old. Like thousands of children across the country, her life is split between two households, an arrangement dictated by a parenting order made in the Family Court.



Stuff: Coronavirus: Government to give $27m to social service agencies for vulnerable amid lockdown

The Government will give $27 million to social service providers like the Salvation Army and Women's Refuge to help the vulnerable in a locked-down New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, at a press conference on Thursday, said the money would allow these organisations to keep housing people, feeding people, and sheltering people from domestic violence.

"There have been increases in demand for services by those in need at this time," she said.



Stuff: Oranga Tamariki reduces child visits amid fears for increase in domestic violence

Children will only see social workers in urgent situations as some social service move online in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Oranga Tamariki has cut visits to vulnerable children to only the most urgent cases and Work and Income has shut physical branches, moving services online instead.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has already led to a significant spike in domestic abuse in parts of China and officials fear a similar situation could unfold in New Zealand.



RNZ: Domestic harm experts say be kind during lockdown

With families kept in close quarters for four weeks through the lockdown, experts say they're expecting an increase in family harm, and are asking everyone to keep safe and be kind.

"We know from New Zealand's previous disasters, and internationally as well there's often a spike in family violence and sexual violence during these periods," says the Chief Victims Adviser to the Government, Dr Kim McGregor.

During the lockdown the police are prioritising family violence, and are able to use protective equipment like face masks while responding to jobs, she says.



Stuff: Womens Refuge suggests code word for domestic violence amid Covid-19 lockdown

Concerned neighbours could establish a code word with those they fear are at risk of domestic violence in the coronavirus lockdown, Women's Refuge says. 

New Zealand entered a nationwide four-week lockdown, at midnight last Wednesday to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Marlborough Women's Refuge and Sexual Violence Support Centre manager Rachel Black said isolation could have detrimental effects on people living with their abusers. When confined to the house, there were more opportunities for abusers to be violent with their victims. 



Stuff: The Homicide Report: 2019 the worst year for intimate partner homicide in a decade

More women allegedly died at the hands of a partner or ex partner in 2019 than any year in the past decade – numbers the justice minister says are both "upsetting and disturbing".

It comes as The Homicide Report, a major Stuff investigation, obtains never-before-released police data that reveals the vast majority of men who kill an intimate partner have at least one violence conviction.

Despite that, police say a scheme that allows women to background check new partners they suspect have a violent past is being under utilised.



Stuff: Cyber criminals use coronavirus lockdown as opportunity to groom children

Cyber criminals are using the coronavirus lockdown as an opportunity to groom children for abuse.

Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said while people were at home, younger children were easily tricked and "very vulnerable" to being groomed online. 

"We are already seeing that cyber criminals are using this opportunity to groom, defraud and exploit people," Cocker said. 

"Cyber criminals have always had the upper hand and grooming of young children and exchanging of explicit images on the internet, the lockdown increases this advantage."



Stuff: A murder that's all too familiar: Alicia McCallion died at the hands of her obsessed ex

The moment Millicent McCallion turned the key in the lock, her daughter's dog burst through the open front door.

It was part of Millicent's morning routine, to let the German pointer-cross Snoopy out of her daughter's sleep-out. Alicia, known as AJ to friends and family, started work at the recycling depot early.

But on the morning of December 12, 2012, Millicent noticed her daughter's overalls strewn across the floor.



NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus: 'Huge human cost' to court delays, says Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann

New Zealand's top judge says the mounting delays in the justice system due to the coronavirus crisis are already creating a "huge human cost".

Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann said Covid-19 has caused an "unprecedented disruption" to the courts, with tens of thousands of court events per month likely to be postponed during the Government's alert level 4 lockdown.

"I don't believe the courts have ever been disrupted in this way, they weren't disrupted in this way through world wars," she said.

Her comments came during a meeting about the state of the justice system this morning between some of New Zealand's top judges, Ministry of Justice representatives, and court reporters from the country's major news media organisations.



Stuff: Eighteen, and sentenced to life in jail for homicide

Eighteen is the most common age of killers in New Zealand according to police data obtained by The Homicide Report. Tony Wall reports. 

Rexon​ Piilua​ was just 18 when he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

He and a friend who was 16 at the time had confronted an accountant, Trevor Clague, as he stumbled home drunk through Sydenham, Christchurch at 2.30am one night in 2005.

Piilua took a softball bat and without warning or provocation smashed Clague over the head, fracturing his skull.

It was a moment of madness that ruined multiple lives. And it's far from an isolated case.



Newsroom: Glimmer of hope for Lake Alice victims

Police start “initial” investigation into abuse at a notorious psychiatric hospital. David Williams reports

The Government has missed a 90-day deadline for responding to a United Nations committee over torture at Lake Alice’s child and adolescent unit in the 1970s.

However, in a move that might represent a glimmer of hope for victims, police confirm they’ve opened an “initial” investigation phase into abuse claims.



ODT: France reponds to domestic abuse rise

France will pay for hotel rooms and open pop-up counselling centres for victims of domestic violence.

The move comes as a response to figures showing the number of abuse cases had soared during the first week of a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said about 20 centres would open in stores around the country so women could drop in for help while getting groceries.

The government also announced an extra one million euro ($NZ1.8 million) for anti-domestic abuse organisations to help them respond to increased demand for services.


Category: News Media