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Weekly Media Roundup

July 31, 2020 at 4:41 PM

NZ Herald: Covid 19 document release: Lockdown domestic violence likely much higher than reported - Cabinet Minister warned

Officials warned ministers they expected "significant underestimates" of the level of domestic violence during the level 4 lockdown, due to limited opportunities to report any abuse.

This is according to a report provided to the Minister of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, released today in another tranche of Covid-19 documents.

The report advised the Minister on how best the Government could mitigate the social impacts of Covid-19 and detailed who would be most disproportionately impacted.

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Stuff: Government promises to end 'subsequent child policy' for mothers on the benefit

The Government is promising to end the "subsequent child policy" that has a parent on the benefit asked to return to work 12 months after they have another child.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni on Wednesday said the Government planned to change the law to remove the policy in November 2021, as part of a “overhaul” of the welfare system. Labour would have to win the election to bring this policy into effect.

Under the policy, a parent who is on the benefit and has another child is obliged to find part-time work when the child is 12-months old. It was introduced in 2012 by a National Government.

The promised change has been welcomed by Children’s Commissioner, who says it “couldn’t happen fast enough”.

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Newshub: Māori overrepresented in NZ's homicide victim data - report

Māori are overrepresented in New Zealand's homicide statistics, a new report has highlighted, with roughly 32 percent of victims annually recorded as Māori despite making up just 15 percent of the population.

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RNZ: Oranga Tamariki sees lowest rate of Māori entering state care since 2004

Oranga Tamariki says it has seen fewer children entering state care since its name change and the establishment of its Treaty of Waitangi commitments.

The new figures are outlined in chief executive Grainne Moss' first report on progress being made to improve outcomes for Māori.

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Newsroom: Bullying and red tape - Oranga Tamariki’s culture issue

Half of them are leaving, or want to leave  .... Newsroom's Mel Reid tells us the story behind her stories on social workers and Oranga Tamariki.

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Stuff: Lessons from domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdown must be implemented, Women's Rights Commissioner says

The Women’s Rights Commissioner is calling on the Government to make sure there is a better plan in place for victims of domestic violence if New Zealand goes back into lockdown.

This call comes off the back of a report prepared for the United Nations on the impact of Covid-19 and the increase of domestic violence against women.

Commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo said when New Zealand first went into lockdown the whole country was taken by surprise.

But at present there was a window of opportunity to get things in place in case it happened again, and she wanted to see it used.

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Stuff: Step forward for Kiwis' rights when decisions made by computer

ANALYSIS The Government has developed a charter that is designed to protect people from bad decisions made by computers – or more accurately from bad decisions by the people who program them.

The charter, released by Statistics Minister James Shaw, and so far signed by 21 government agencies is designed to ensure computer “algorithms” are being used in a fair, ethical, and transparent way in the public sector.

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Newsroom: ‘He said he’d destroy me ... and here we are’

National MP Sarah Dowie transfixed Parliament this week as she gave her farewell speech, lambasting a 'predator' and accusing the media of being manipulated to destroy her. In the first of two video interviews, she speaks to Melanie Reid

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Stuff: MPs reach across the House to ban female genital mutilation

It’s taken 12 years, and required a change to Parliament’s archaic rules, but a group of female MPs have come together to ban female genital mutilation, in all forms.

A cross-party group threw aside party allegiances and joined forces to bring New Zealand’s laws around FGM in line with international guidelines.

They created a joint Member’s Bill – a way for MPs to have new laws debated outside the Government programme.

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Stuff: Coronavirus: Police predict the emergence of a new group of criminals post Covid-19

The impact of Covid-19 could spawn a whole new group of offenders, an internal police report predicts. Blair Ensor and Collette Devlin report.

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The Spinoff: Without access to emergency housing, our young homeless are left out in the cold

Finding yourself homeless is terrible at any age – but it’s even worse for those under 18, who are routinely turned away by emergency housing providers, writes Aaron Hendry.

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Newshub: New Zealand's problem with 'image-based sexual abuse' worse than ever

New Zealand's problem with 'revenge porn' is worse than ever.

Netsafe says around 300,000 Kiwis have had intimate images or recordings shared without their permission.

It's content that often goes viral - posted to social media or one of the more than 3000 websites dedicated to 'revenge porn'.

More than a third of victims (33 percent) are under 30 with one agency helping people as young as 12.

But advocacy groups say the problem isn't just the 'revenge porn' itself, it's also the stigma surrounding it.

They say people need to call it what it is: 'image-based sexual abuse'. 

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Newshub: Calls for law change to make proving harm from image-based sexual abuse easier

A victim advocate is calling for a change to New Zealand's cyber crime laws, saying it's too difficult to prove harm from revenge porn.

Around 300,000 Kiwis have had intimate content shared without their permission, but the number of cases which end up in court is significantly less.

In 2015 the Harmful Digital Communications Act made cyber abuse a crime and since then just 196 people have been convicted. Men are the main offenders, making up 87.8 percent of convictions.

But the Ministry of Justice only has figures for all cyber crime offences, meaning convictions only relating to revenge porn - or 'image-based sexual abuse' - is much lower.  

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NZ Herald: The dark side of smart technology: Enabling domestic abuse

A few years ago, a group of workers at tech giant IBM were joking over lunch about how they could use the smart technology in their homes to play tricks on their families.

"They were openly laughing about how they were remotely controlling the Wifi and heating at home, unbeknownst to their partners who were home at the time," said Lesley Nuttall, an IBM developer from the UK.

The workers had accidentally stumbled onto something with more sinister possibilities. Following their initial hunch, IBM used its research unit to dig a bit deeper, and spoke to domestic violence support workers and the British equivalent of Women's Refuge.

Nuttall said the results were alarming. They found that the use of "smart" technology by abusive people to control and coerce their partners was already prevalent in domestic violence cases, and becoming more common. Products which were designed for safety, convenience or financial security were being repurposed for malicious reasons.

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NZ Herald: Life inside the Beehive: 'I wake in the night shaking at these memories'

A former politician with years of experience in the Beehive lifts the lid on what really happens at Parliament.

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Stuff: Male survivors of sexual abuse trekking to Parliament on horseback

Male survivors of sexual abuse are trekking from North Canterbury to Parliament on horseback to send a message to politicians about the need for better protection for children.

Ken Clearwater, the national advocate for peer support group Male Survivors Aotearoa, was one of nine riders to start the nine-day journey to Wellington on Monday.

On arrival at Parliament on August 6, they plan to ask as many politicians as they can to commit to giving a voice to victims.

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The Spinoff: ‘I feel helpless’: The nine-month wait for action on a sexual assault complaint

In October 2019, she laid a complaint of sexual assault. Police say they’re ‘still waiting for a free detective’ to assign to the case. Emily Writes reports.

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Newshub: Australian woman mocked by TVNZ reporter reveals she lost teeth in domestic violence assault

An Australian woman whose appearance was mocked by a TVNZ reporter has revealed she lost her teeth in a domestic violence assault.

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Stuff: Children hit domestic violence panic alarm as irate ex attacks woman

Children at a Hamilton home had a direct line to the police when Adrian Tepania turned up out of the blue to terrorise the family.

The man, who carries a 20-page record, walked up to his former partner, grabbed her top and tried to drag her to his car.

Outside, he reversed the car out the driveway then accelerated at the woman and children three times.

Tepania was sentenced to 18 months’ jail for assaulting his former partner, assault with a blunt instrument and wilful damage in Hamilton District Court following the incident at a house in Chartwell in March this year.

The safety alarm system the children hit that day is one of thousands of monitored alarms installed in the homes of victims of domestic abuse throughout New Zealand each year.

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NZ Herald: Mum who bribed 5yo daughter to be 'sexual plaything' was reported to Oranga Tamariki multiple times before sex offending

The Minister for Children is demanding answers from Oranga Tamariki over its handling of reports of concern about a little girl used as a "sexual plaything" by her own mother.

The Herald can today reveal that the little girl had been on Oranga Tamariki's radar since 2013 and in the years leading to the mother's arrest multiple people called OT to report her for neglect and suspected abuse.

While the agency are refusing to comment on the case publicly, the Minister for Children is calling on the agency to provide her with answers around it's handling of the case.

And National's spokesperson for children is calling for a full investigation.

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Stuff: NZ Comedy scene put on notice: 'We won't tolerate sexual harassment, abuse'

A working group has been set up to urgently address sexual assault and harassment in New Zealand’s comedy scene.

A manifesto posted on industry pages Thursday evening promised action “to make comedy in Aotearoa a safe place for all”.

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Stuff: South Canterbury parents deny neglecting children

The trial of a South Canterbury couple charged with neglecting their four children over a period of more than five years began in Timaru on Monday.

The 30-year-old man and 26-year-old woman came to the attention of authorities when a 5-year-old was seen running naked, unsupervised, down a busy road, about 2.30pm on May 3, 2019.

Crown prosecutor Craig O'Connor told the Timaru District Court the child and three siblings, who were now in foster care, were generally dirty and unkempt, had developmental issues, decaying teeth, head lice, and insect bites littering their bodies.

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Stuff: Man assaulted his partner while she carried their child

A New Plymouth man repeatedly assaulted his partner while she was carrying their young child, the New Plymouth District Court has heard.

Joshua Ian Morton appeared before Judge Chris Sygrove on Monday for sentencing on charges of assault with intent to injure, behaves threateningly, assault and wilful damage.

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Stuff: Man confronted ex with machete just hours after being issued a police safety order

Marsden Tipuna was holding a machete and a pair of scissors when he confronted his ex-partner in the hallway of her house in the presence of their two-year-old child.

“What did you ring the pigs for?” he shouted.

Tipuna, 27, had arrived at the Gisborne house on the afternoon of February 7, 2019, just hours after being issued a police safety order and trespass notice forbidding him from going to the property.

It was the latest of many previous family harm incidents between Tipuna and his former partner.

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Stuff: Days of violent abuse began with man getting upset with his breakfast

Days of abuse that included threats to kill and the preparation of a noose to hang his partner from a rafter began with Victor Kaukau being upset at the breakfast she wanted to make.

Kaukau, 57, and his partner at the time were at their Hastings home on the morning of November 13, 2018, when he became verbally aggressive after she offered to make breakfast.

The couple had been together for about 18 months, over which time police had been called to 12 family harm episodes between them.

After arguing and swearing at the woman for an hour he took her cellphone off her then picked up a large knife and swung it at her.

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RNZ: Protests at Poland's plan to leave treaty on violence against women

Poland will take steps next week to withdraw from a European treaty on violence against women, which the right-wing cabinet says violates parents' rights by requiring schools to teach children about gender, the justice minister said today.

Zbigniew Ziobro told a news conference his ministry would submit a request to the labour and families ministry tomorrow to begin the process of withdrawing from the treaty, known as the Istanbul Convention.

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Category: News Media