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Weekly Media Roundup

April 23, 2021 at 1:17 PM

Stuff: Family violence court cases: How a vital ingredient is missing

OPINION: Family violence has reached pandemic proportions. It’s a critical public health issue with devastating and even life-threatening outcomes. So where are our specialists? Where is our specialist voice? And where is judicial commitment to victim protection?

The story of Mrs P highlights how family violence is an issue requiring specialist knowledge, expertise and understanding.

When perpetrators’ violence against women goes unchecked, their victims face devastating or even life-threatening consequences. Yet in the family court, which is intended to keep victims safe, there is no guarantee that family violence will be understood by decision-makers.

Reading the account of Mrs P’s experiences in court, our office was uncharacteristically silent. It was a sobering reminder of what can (and does) happen when the family court is unable or unwilling to hear, let alone understand, evidence of violence.



Stuff: 'She was failed': Experts call for investigation into case of 'Mrs P'

A group of more than 70 domestic violence experts are calling on the Prime Minister to ensure the courts investigate a miscarriage of justice case that saw an abuse victim wrongly convicted of perjury.

The academics and specialist agencies have also asked the woman, known as Mrs P, be compensated, and those who acted inappropriately in the case be required to undertake training in domestic violence and coercive control.

In an open letter, penned by the country’s leading domestic violence researchers including Auckland University professors Nicola Gavey and Vivenne Elizabeth, the group says the woman’s story shows “state power and ignorance colliding to harm a vulnerable woman.”

“The story highlights multiple occasions where the system has failed Mrs P – as a woman who suffered domestic violence, she was further harmed by the very institutions that women are urged to turn to for help,” the group’s letter states.

“The treatment of Mrs P within both the Family Court and the District Court is a stinging indictment of the operations of our courts, and some of the judges and lawyers who operate within them.”



RNZ: 'Alcoholics, drug deals, gang affiliations, domestic violence' - Emergency housing labelled as dangerous

Emergency housing has been described as dangerous and terrifying for some, with families mixed in with gang members and many places rife with crime and intimidation.

Official documents show ministers were warned about the "risks to public safety" in Rotorua a year ago, and that week-by-week motel accommodation is not so suitable for families, or those with high needs.

One Auckland charitable trust says some residents are especially vulnerable to sexual violence, which may only become apparent in years to come.

Causing further consternation is the Social Development Ministry's approach of leaving it up to the moteliers to make sure there's no violence, harassment or criminal behaviour, and only responding once an incident has occurred.



RNZ: Emergency housing: Woman beaten unconscious, children being 'put at risk'



1 News: John Campbell takes a tour of emergency housing motel, which costs taxpayers thousands a week for one unit



Stuff: Zac Guildford’s naming a line in the sand for badly behaved sportsmen

OPINION: Former All Black Zac Guildford’s name suppression for punching a woman in the face has lapsed. It should serve as a warning to other badly behaved sportsmen who try to hide behind their careers.

The incident happened in 2019, in a car, when Guildford was extremely intoxicated. His District Court case was told that without “forewarning”, he administered a “savage blow” to the woman’s face.

Her injuries included two black eyes, serious bruising, and swelling. She has ongoing health implications because of the assault.

Guildford fought for permanent name suppression at his January sentencing, in the Hamilton District Court, after previously pleading guilty to a charge of male assaults female.

His request was denied by Judge Robert Spear at sentencing, but his lawyer appealed. That appeal has now been dismissed by Justice Paul Davison in the High Court and the sentence of two years of intensive supervision also stands.

Guildford fought to keep his name and sentence secret on the grounds that it would impact his chances of playing rugby overseas.

Judge Spear rejected that claim.



Stuff: Zac Guildford named as former All Black sentenced for punching woman in the face in 'appalling act'

A former All Black sentenced for punching a woman in the face can now be named as Zac Guildford.

The incident, described as savage and appalling, happened in 2019, in a car, when Guildford was extremely intoxicated.

“The brutality and considerable force behind the blow is illustrated by the nature of the injuries caused to the victim,” Justice Paul Davison QC wrote in a decision released after an appeal in the High Court at Hamilton.

“It was clearly serious offending, and the fact that it took place in the context of the appellant being severely intoxicated by alcohol is no excuse whatsoever.”



Stuff: Māori and crime: Why hurt people tend to hurt others

OPINION: Last week, Justice Ministry deputy secretary Tim Hampton stated that “just being Māori” increased the likelihood of being a victim of crime, in reference to the findings of the just-released Māori and Victimisation in Aotearoa study. He made that observation after accounting for other factors that increase the risk of victimisation, which include youth, and deprivation factors including inequities in housing, health and income.

The over-representation of Māori in each of those risk categories partly accounts for our over-representation as victims, with much research confirming links between poverty and risk of both offending and victimisation. In contrast, Māori are under-represented in the categories of factors that protect people from risks of victimisation, including being aged over 50, owning a home, being financially stable, and psychologically well.

Aotearoa is the fifth most unequal economy in the OECD – and that comes with high human cost. In 2019 a group of Māori researchers highlighted the lack of compassionate understanding and policy directed towards “precariate Māori households”, where whānau live with the toxic stress of marginalisation, stigma and persistent insecurity. This is not unique to Aotearoa, and is a global phenomenon reflective of the increasing gaps between rich and poor.



Stuff: Our Truth, Tā Mātou Pono: How the treatment of children in custody and racism led to the duty solicitors scheme

It is January 1973. There is a void inside Ray*.

He has been picked up by the police for being “idle and disorderly”.

Homeless for about a year, the police officers who arrest him make him walk to the station, saying he smells too bad to get in their car.

When he gets to the station, they strip him out of his clothes and make him take a shower.

While in the shower, one of the arresting officers shows Ray a weapon and asks who it belongs to. He “prods” him, hurting him in ways that leave no mark, until eventually Ray says the weapon is his.

Without legal representation, while naked in a shower, Ray has confessed to a crime he did not commit. He will be sentenced to two years’ probation.

Ray is 16 years old.

His experience is part of the historical account of why people appearing in court now get free legal representation.



The Spinoff: It’s not ‘stealthing’ – it’s rape

Last week in Wellington, a man was convicted of rape for removing his condom during sex without consent. For Frankie Bennett, who was subjected to a similar assault, it’s validating – but now we must stop using euphemisms to describe sex crimes.

Read more…


RNZ: Māori Health Authority must include holistic wellbeing - Ngāi Tahu health provider

A Southern iwi health provider wants the new Māori Health Authority to fund services that encompass all of hauora, not just GP visits.

The government will be canvassing views of Māori medical experts, iwi and providers across the country in the coming months about what services the Māori authority should fund, how much money it will have, and who will be represented on the Iwi-Māori partnership boards, which will operate on a local level.

Māori medical professionals and health advocates are "midly optimistic" the authority will have power.



Stuff: Dad who hit his son for bad language sees court case as 'badge of honour'

A man who hit his son with a belt and said it was to stop him acting badly again has laughed and sighed his way through his sentencing.

The man, who cannot be identified due to automatic suppression of his son’s name, smiled and laughed as Wellington District Court judge Bruce Davidson​ read out the part of a letter that said he was going to give his son a “good old fashioned belt on the a…”



Stuff: Students demand change from council on sexual violence, present survey showing more than four in ten report sexual assault

A woman assaulted by a man and then kicked out of a Wellington bar without her cellphone or friends after complaining to a bouncer is one of many “appalling” stories told in a sexual violence survey on Wellington.

The survey creators, Ella Lamont and Sophia Harrison, presented the results to Wellington City Council on Thursday, provided possible solutions and demanding the city’s decision-makers take action on sexual violence in the capital.

Later in the meeting, councillor Tamatha Paul, who holds the city safety portfolio, passed a resolution for the creation of a report to be prioritised on the city safety, as part of the council’s alcohol management strategy.



Stuff: People who assault police, firearm offenders, dodging charges for alternate justice

A dozen people who assaulted police officers have dodged criminal charges in favour of an alternate resolution scheme in the past year.

Nearly 20 others who committed firearms offences also went before the Te Pae Oranga Iwi community panels, a restorative justice programme established as an alternative to courts, according to police figures.

National’s police spokesman Simeon Brown said the data showed the Government was soft on crime. He accused Police Minister Poto Williams of reneging on a promise that those guilty of serious crimes, such as firearms offences, would not be eligible for the scheme.

Williams rejected that claim and said Te Pae Oranga referrals were working at reducing reoffending.



1 News: 'We've got a significant problem' - High rates of post traumatic stress among police, survey finds

A survey of Police Association members has revealed staggeringly high rates of post-traumatic stress among current and former cops.

Of the nearly 4500 who took part in the survey by the Police Association, 42.8 per cent showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress or PTS and 14.2 per cent have a clinical diagnosis of it.

Over 2000 of the people are serving sworn members of the force.

“We were aware there’s an issue, anecdotally we hear stories, but we never had the data to show how big of an issue it was, so we wanted some really good research done and this aids that greatly," said Police Association president Chris Cahill.

"We’ve got a significant problem."



Newshub: Unsilenced: Sexual abuse survivors speak out to give others the courage to break free

Sexual abuse has touched the lives of three generations of the Kingi whānau.

Renee Kingi's four children are all victims of incest, sexually violated by their father.

"When you're married to someone for so long and you've had children to them, you never imagine that they could harm your children in this way," Renee says.

The Kingi whānau are an example of Aotearoa's shameful statistics where one in three girls and one in seven boys experience sexual abuse by their 16th birthday.



The Spinoff: Vegas keeps the Māori warrior-gangster trope alive for another generation

A new TVNZ drama tells the story of a fictitious gang trying to go straight. Despite being funded as part of a major initiative to get Māori stories to screen, Vegas reinforces some centuries-old stereotypes, writes Leonie Hayden.

Read more…


Stuff: Auckland man stabbed wife then fatally ran over woman who tried to help, court hears

Filled with anger and bitterness after a marriage breakdown, a man went to his wife’s workplace and attempted to kill her, a court has heard.

That woman survived – but another woman who tried to intervene was killed.

Soafa Niumagumagu​ has denied attempting to murder Puapuaga Matamua​, murdering Sagaia Kasala,​ and assaulting Abdul Riyaz​ with his car in Māngere Bridge, Auckland in June 2019.

She survived – but another woman who tried to intervene was killed.



Stuff: Rugby player who raped woman after club social night has appeal against conviction rejected

A rugby player who twice raped a woman who had offered him a place to stay after he could not get home from a night out has had an appeal against his conviction dismissed.

Anaru Wetere was convicted on two charges of rape and one charge of sexual violation by unlawful connection in a jury trial in the Dunedin District Court in July last year.

He was jailed for six years and nine months, but his lawyer appealed to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that the sex was consensual, saying there was a miscarriage of justice.

But in a decision released on Monday, the Court of Appeal dismissed his claim.



RNZ: Private school admits poor handling of sexual conduct complaint

A private girls' boarding school in Auckland has admitted it failed to address allegations of sexual conduct involving a staff member and a 16-year-old student more than 20 years ago.

Former staff member James Tibbles resigned from the school in 1998, and from Auckland University in December last year, over similar allegations.

St Cuthbert's Trust Board chair Hayley Buckley said in a statement that the staff member was suspended and then resigned soon after a 1998 complaint.

"While we do understand that the college made genuine efforts to address what happened at the time, we acknowledge that the college's investigation in 1998 and subsequent actions were not good enough," she said.

She added that the process did not prioritise the victim's welfare.



Stuff: Man jailed for sexually abusing stepdaughter over more than three years

A young girl is now “terrified of her own bed” after more than three years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather, the Timaru District Court heard on Thursday.

“Because of you, I changed,” the girl said in a victim impact statement read to the court by a family member.

The girl described wearing baggy clothes to hide her body and staying out after school because she was too scared to go home.

“I am now coming out of my hidey-hole. I do stuff without you telling me not to,” her statement said.

“I feel nothing for you.”


Category: News Media