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2020

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Weekly Media Roundup

October 01, 2020 at 5:20 PM

Stuff: Strategy to transform family violence written off as 'too Māori'

Jacinda Ardern’s Government pledged to make family violence a top priority. Three years on, those promises have led to little but disappointment. Kirsty Johnston reports.

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Stuff: 'I've thought about running away': The dilemma for abused mums in the Family Court

Men abuse women and then want to care for their children. But what is more important – a child’s right to safety or a parent’s right to see them? Kirsty Johnston reports.

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Stuff: Right to silence: Should people be forced to speak to police when a child is killed?

Detectives in south Auckland are grappling with two child homicides where families are refusing to co-operate. The cases have sparked renewed calls for a law change that would allow police to prosecute those who choose not to talk to them. But some legal experts say binning the right to silence would destroy a fundamental pillar of the justice system. Blair Ensor and Edward Gay report.

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Stuff: Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft calls for review of 'right to silence' for abuse witnesses

OPINION: The issue of the ‘right to silence’ for witnesses of child abuse has been raised again this week. Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft writes that it is time for a national debate about whether it’s working to protect children.

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Stuff: Half of people charged with non-fatal strangulation, suffocation escape conviction

More than half of people charged with non-fatal strangulation or suffocation have escaped conviction, data shows.

That's despite a law change, which came into force in December 2018, to try to better protect victims of such offending.

During the past two years, police have launched proceedings for an average of five cases of non-fatal strangulation or suffocation per day.

Although nearly all those cases made it to court, just 47 per cent of the alleged offenders, the vast majority of whom were men, were convicted in the year to June 2020, statistics released by the Ministry of Justice revealed.

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NZ Herald: Abuse in Care: Cooper Legal calls for Crown to stop using Limitations Act to deny child abuse redress

Lawyers who have represented thousands of state care abuse survivors are calling for abolition of the limitations defence in cases of child abuse which they say has been used as a "powerful tool" to deny victims redress.

Sonja Cooper and Amanda Hill of Cooper Legal revealed to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry the difficulties of battling with the Crown, which also included Government agencies arguing their actions were "acceptable" at the time.

One of those actions involved the "horrific example" of internal virginal examinations for venereal disease on girls, some as young as 8, who were placed in girls homes in the 1970s.

"The Ministry of Social Development said that was in 'policy of the standards of the time'," Hill said.

"There were complaints being made about it back then, so how can they say that's within the standards of the day?"

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RNZ: Abuse in care: Child wrongfully diagnosed as mentally disabled was sexually and physically abused

Warning: This story discusses graphic details of sexual abuse and physical abuse.

A man who was wrongly identified as mentally disabled when just six years old, was then sent to a state institution where he was physically and sexually abused until the end of his teens.

It took until he was 74 years old before the man, referred to as Mr M, received compensation and an apology.

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RNZ: Abuse in care inquiry: Woman endured abuse to protect her younger sisters

Two women have told the Abuse in Care inquiry that their older sister, who later died, tried to protect them from being abused while in foster care.

Tanya and Georgina Sammons. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

The three were placed in care from an early age.

Georgina and Tanya Sammons told their story and that of their older sister, Alva, to the Royal Commission in Auckland today.

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RNZ: Abuse in care: Man who suffered as a child gives evidence

Warning: This story discusses graphic details of sexual abuse, physical abuse and suicide.

A man with an intellectual disability who went into care as a young child and was physically and sexually abused has described his childhood as a nightmare.

Kerry Johnson, which is a pseudonym, is now 48-years-old.

He first spent about one year, 1980, in the Catholic-run St John of God, Marylands School in Christchurch before moving into state-run institutions.

On Monday, he gave evidence to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry sitting in Auckland.

Kerry Johnson was only 7 when he was taken into care because, he says, he was an out of control kid.

He was put into the care of the brothers at St John of God, where three of them sexually abused him and others a number of times.

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Stuff: Abuse inquiry: 15-year battle with Catholic order and Government departments

A man who has battled for 15 years with the St John of God Catholic order and two Government ministries over compensation for the sexual and physical abuse he suffered has described his life as a “horror movie”.

Kerry Johnson* told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care on Monday that he is now aged in his forties and has been in and out of prison.

“It is hard for me to confront all this. Even so, I know that I need to speak up for myself, and for my mates who didn’t make it.”

He said it was time for the Government to finally own up to what had happened.

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Stuff: Accountancy firm director gets discharge without conviction after breaking ex-wife's nose

An accountant who punched his ex-wife in the face and broke her nose has escaped a conviction after a judge ruled it would cause delays to his international travel.

Fergus Donald Cleaver is the principal partner at Cleaver Partners, an inner-city accounting firm.

Following an attack on his ex-wife, Cleaver was found guilty of injuring with reckless disregard and not guilty of two charges of male assaults female, after a five-day trial at the Auckland District Court.

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1 News: 'Dreadful' ACC loophole preventing child sexual abuse victims from qualifying for weekly compensation

An ACC loophole is preventing victims of child sexual abuse from qualifying for weekly compensation.

If a child doesn't seek help or treatment for abuse before they turn 18., they're not eligible for the ACC payment if they're unable to work because of ongoing mental trauma. Source: 1 NEWS

Under ACC, a person is entitled to ‘Loss of Potential Earnings’ cover for personal injuries sustained before the age of 18 prohibiting or hindering work.

However the Accident Compensation Act 2001 states a person’s mental injury is deemed to occur on the date they first ‘received treatment for your mental injury’.

It means that unless a child comes forward before they turn 18, they are ineligible for the LOPE payments, as the abuse technically happened when they first asked for help as an adult.

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Stuff: 'It makes you want to throw your phone in the bin': The film turning teens off social media

Watching the founders of the world's biggest social media platforms describe how bad they are for young people's mental health, 15-year-old Neisha Biviano had to pause to give herself time to take it all in.

Almost instantaneously, the bombshell Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, changed her relationship with the platforms upon which her generation grew up.

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Stuff: Fijian man to be deported after burning child with hot water, butter knife

A Fijian man will be deported from New Zealand after seriously burning his then-partner’s young son.

The 28-year-old man, identified only as HF, held the 8-year-old under hot water in an attempt to discipline him.

He also admitted heating a butter knife on a stove and pressing it against the boy’s bare buttocks, twisting three of his fingers back, and hitting him on the shoulder and arms.

The boy suffered deep burns to 20 per cent of his body, including his chest, abdomen, genitalia, buttocks and upper thighs.

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Stuff: 'It's not my shame': The process of speaking out as a victim of sexual harassment

In January 2020, Australian Academic Dr Marisa Paterson sent a private message to journalist Alison Mau, head of Stuff’s #MeTooNZ project. Paterson alleged she had been sexually harassed and stalked by a New Zealand professor, a senior member of the international academic community in her field of gambling harm reduction; and that with the backing of her own employer, Australian National University in Canberra, had been pushing for months to get Auckland’s AUT to formally investigate Professor Max Abbott CNZM’s behaviour.

Over the next six months, Paterson and Mau worked together to publish her story. The resulting investigation led to the uncovering of a decades-long culture of sexual harassment at AUT, resignations and a QC review. Here, Paterson describes the process and what it has meant for her.

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Stuff: Man who 'robbed' daughter of childhood jailed for violent assaults and indecent offending

A man who “robbed” his daughter of her childhood been sent to prison after a jury found him guilty of a raft of violent and indecent offences.

The 45-year-old man who lives in the Tasman District, who has permanent name suppression, was found guilty on 19 charges of assaulting a child, assault with a weapon, male assaults female and indecent assault at a two-week trial in August. He was found not guilty on nine other charges.

Judge Garry Barkle​ said the violence started when the girl was four-years-old and continued for 12 years until she was a teenager.

He inflicted “discipline and gratuitous violence” on his daughter and the jury’s guilty verdicts reflected that he subjected her “to an upbringing of abject fear and unhappiness”.

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Category: News Media