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Weekly Media Roundup

April 01, 2021 at 12:06 PM

Stuff: Stalemate: New Zealand rejects UN over Family Court review

New Zealand has again refused to instigate a Royal Commission on the Family Court, bringing New Zealand and the United Nations’ women’s rights committee to a stalemate.

Since 2018, domestic violence advocacy groups have been publicly calling on the Government to take an in-depth look at the culture of the court, arguing it is unsafe for women and children.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) backed that call in its periodic review, saying there were “drawbacks” and an obstruction of justice inherent in the Family Court system.

The Government instead chose to complete a ministerial review by an independent panel, with a more limited scope. The panel assessed the impact of changes made to the Family Court in 2014, which were designed to speed up the process, but had not.



RNZ: Royal Commission hearing into abuse in care and redress wraps up

Survivor groups have left the inquiry into abuse in care in no doubt how little trust they have in churches of ever getting the redress process right.

Final submissions were made to the Royal Commission on Monday from survivors and from the Anglican and Catholic Churches and the Salvation Army.

The Network of Survivors of Abuse in faith-based institutions said apologies given by the churches were nothing more than attempts to gain sympathy from the Royal Commission.

It says survivors have heard nothing that gives them any confidence that if it were left to the churches, anything will change.



Stuff: Survivors share stories of past abuse at New Zealand schools

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The Spinoff: A rocky road to healing: A day at the inquiry into historic abuse in state care

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Stuff: Violence in schools: How do we keep our children and teachers safe?

A single punch from a high-school bully left a teenager requiring brain surgery. An attack from a student with a weapon left a teacher questioning his career. A law has left principals wondering whether they can keep their classrooms safe while ensuring every child has an education. Sophie Cornish and Laura Wiltshire examine what is being done about the violence in our schools.

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1 News: 'So many stories' - Survivors say abuse in rainbow community widespread, demand grows for support services

Serious issues of abuse in New Zealand's rainbow community have been brought to light by the trial of a wealthy businessman found guilty of indecently assaulting younger men.

A jury this week found the businessman guilty of indecent assault against three men in the early 2000s, 2008, and 2016, as well as attempting to dissuade one of the complainants from giving evidence.

He has always maintained his innocence and continues to have name suppression. The businessman's lawyer is also reported to have been instructed by his client to appeal.

"I think what is particular about that story is you've got men talking about sexual abuse - that doesn't happen as much," said researcher Sandra Dickson.

Dickson has surveyed abuse in the rainbow community, publishing one of New Zealand's first reports on these issues in 2016.



RNZ: Hundreds rally against sexual violence in Wellington

About 500 people have gathered on Courtenay Place in Wellington to rally against sexual violence in the city.

The rally, organised by the Wellington Alliance Against Sexual Violence, is calling on the local council, government, and Hospitality New Zealand to commit to changing the culture of Wellington, which the alliance says permits and perpetuates sexual violence.

It wants a revamp of the central city, a strategy to prevent violence that hospitality staff can implement and more funding for sexual violence prevention organisations.

Speakers at the rally include city councillor Tamatha Paul and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson.



 News: Ardern says rise in family and sexual violence a 'stain on our society' ahead of Wellington protest



Stuff: 'They don't see much hope': Young people struggle, a year after lockdown

There is a lingering memory from lockdown which still makes Stevie-Jean Gear​ laugh.

Working fulltime while caring for her toddler, Gear was on a Zoom call when she realised her daughter, who was sitting under the table, had become suspiciously quiet. She knew something was up.

“She had got hold of the scissors and was cutting her hair,” Gear said. “She had tuned in to that when mum was on the laptop, she wasn’t paying attention.”

Gear, 29, is the archetype of the New Zealander most under stress during lockdown: a single mother isolating with a child, tasked with cooking, cleaning and running a home and holding down a professional job. All this, while educating and caring for her 3-year-old.



Stuff: Maxims of women's movement now echo is schools and workplaces

OPINION: The women’s movement is one of the most successful social and political movements in modern history. From reproductive rights to career opportunities, increased access to education to sex worker law reform, from the rise of women as consumers to prison reform, the women’s movement has been one of the most powerful forces of change in the past century.

Feminism has reached into the lives of nearly every woman and girl – and man and boy – on the planet.

As a mother of two young women, I watch the winding road of women’s empowerment carefully, sometimes eavesdropping into the online and offline conversations of teens and young adults to get a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities young women now face. Not all my information-gathering is covert; I also talk to my kids and their friends about their emerging views.

One narrative that comes through strongly is that of the ongoing fight against sexual violence. When second-wave feminists started naming and unpacking a hyper-masculine “rape culture” in the 1970s, it was considered radical and anti-men. Now, this fight and its language has been mainstreamed, thanks in large part to the #MeToo movement, which triggered widespread discussion of sexual harassment and abuse across the world.



Stuff: Invercargill man found guilty of murdering young mum

Family of Azalia Wilson will begin plans to fundraise in her honour with proceeds going to the domestic violence White Ribbon appeal.

Samuel Moses Samson, 32, was found guilty of the murder of Azalia Wilson, 22, when the jury returned its unanimous verdict in the High Court at Invercargill on Tuesday afternoon.

There was applause from some 40 or so people in the public gallery as the jury left the courtroom.

Samson will be sentenced on June 3.



Stuff: Mother researched 'drugs that can kill toddlers' before lacing young son's milk

A woman researched “drugs that can kill toddlers” before she laced milk with a toxic concoction and gave it to her young child while he was in hospital.

On Friday, the 35-year-old woman admitted two representative charges of ill-treatment of a child by administering various substances – first at Dunedin Hospital, and then at Starship Children’s Hospital.

She also admitted a charge of theft from the Auckland City Hospital Pharmacy.



RNZ: Earl Opetaia guilty of sex offences against young boys in care

A former Child, Youth and Family carer has been found guilty of sexually violating and indecently assaulting young boys in his care.

Earl William Opetaia ran an Auckland CYF's home in the early-to-mid 2000s, caring for around 150 boys over a five-year-period.

Six of these boys accused him of indecently assaulting them. He faced 26 charges including sexual violation, indecent assault against boys under 16, threatening to kill and supply of cannabis. Seven other charges were dropped during the trial.

Today in the Auckland High Court, a unanimous jury found him guilty of 21 charges and not guilty of five.



Stuff: Otago man sentenced for rape and sexual assault against daughters

A Central Otago man who sexually assaulted and raped two daughters over a three-year period has been sentenced to eight years in jail.

The man, who has name suppression, appeared in the Queenstown District Court on Monday.

He earlier admitted three charges of committing an indecent act and five charges of sexual violation between 2017 and 2020.

The two girls were aged between 3 and 11 when the offending happened.



Stuff: Woman slapped 2-year-old for moving while getting nappy changed

A Blenheim woman who slapped her 2-year-old for moving around while having his nappy changed told one of her other children the boy “needed to learn”.

The mother-of-four appeared at the Blenheim District Court on Monday asking for a discharge without conviction on four counts of assault on a child.

Three of the charges were representative, meaning the assaults happened on more than one occasion.

Judge Richard Russell refused to discharge her without conviction, saying “the breach of trust is huge”.



1 News: Domestic violence victims' pets to be legally protected under new NSW law

The pets of domestic violence victims in NSW will also be legally protected when an apprehended domestic violence order is granted.

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Stuff: Maternal suicide advert ordered off-air after complaints warning it would 'cost lives'

The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered an advert which depicted maternal suicide and alcoholism be taken off-air.

Lobby group Mothers Matter launched an advertising campaign to pressure the Government into providing more support for parents with postnatal depression. However, the Mental Health Foundation condemned the group's three-minute ad, warning its depiction of suicide would “cost lives”.

The ASA said it received 13 complaints about the advert and on Monday it released its finding which agreed the advert “was likely to cause harm”.

The advert was ordered off-air as a result.

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Stuff: A stalker has promised her victims she will not stop until she dies

Kerryn Mitchell​ promised the couple she had been harassing in 2012 that she would not stop.

A text message sent to the man who had a protection order against her said, “When is this going to end c...? When I’m dead.”

Nine years later, she is keeping that promise.

On Wednesday, she was sentenced to jail again – this time to two years and three months.


Category: News Media