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Weekly Media Roundup

July 16, 2021 at 3:32 PM

Stuff: 'You'll figure it out': Oranga Tamariki worker speaks out on tough life in homes for at-risk children

Jessy was never here for the pay cheque. Few would be at these types of rates, this type of press.

Within moments of walking in on day one it was baptism by brutal reality.

“Something had happened, someone did something to someone, and they are in the secure unit. I'm asking all these questions and they were like, ‘you’ll figure it out’.”

Welcome to life inside one of Oranga Tamariki’s (OT) care and protection homes, of which there are four. They are where we put some of our most at-risk youth, aged 10 to 16, but authorities are rapidly figuring out they are – euphemistically – less than ideal.

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1 News: Vast majority of young people in OT detention facilities not yet sentenced

Secure youth justice facilities are supposed to provide rehabilitation for young people guilty of crimes. However, 75 percent of those detained haven’t been sentenced, and nearly all of them are Māori and Pasifika. Re: News' Baz Macdonald looks at what’s going on.

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Newshub: Former Oranga Tamariki care facility resident backs staff who used unapproved restraint techniques

A former resident of the Christchurch Oranga Tamariki care facility that used unapproved restraint techniques on a child is urging people to remember there are two sides to every story.

Makaira Halliday, 15, says he values the year he lived at Te Oranga and is supporting the staff who work there.

The reaction to the video, which showed the Oranga Tamariki staff tackling and headlocking a child in care, is something Makaira says he is upset at given he had a positive experience while living there.

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Stuff: Teen proposes app for kids, caregivers to make complaints about Oranga Tamariki

A teen in Oranga Tamariki care whose complaint about abuse went unanswered for months met with the agency’s chief executive to propose a solution – an app available to all children and caregivers.

Ihorangi Reweti-Peters met with Sir Wira Gardiner in Christchurch on Tuesday after the 15-year-old approached Gardiner by email in May.

Ihorangi was in his seventh foster placement since being moved into State care when he was 10.

His current foster family were “amazing” but he wanted to advocate for changes to Oranga Tamariki to ensure other children in care were kept safe, listened to, and given an opportunity to heal.

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1 News: Youth in state care deserve 'entitlement' to mental health services: teen

A teenager who was abused in state care is calling for better opportunities for vulnerable children to seek access to better mental health services.

Opening up about his own experiences trying to get help, 15-year-old Ihorangi Reweti-Peters highlighted the significant need for youth in Oranga Tamariki’s care to have an “entitlement” to help. 

“New Zealand has the highest teen suicide rates in the developed world and just over 2700 young people in Oranga Tamariki care - which is just over half the young people in care - suffer from mental illness.

“It was very hard for me to get the correct mental health support that I needed, my grandparents had to advocate for that. So it wasn’t such an entitlement when I came into Oranga Tamariki care.” 

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1 News: Tackling men's violence relies on people to 'humanise' perpetrators - author

The man behind the She is Not Your Rehab anti-violence movement, wants to change the conversation around domestic violence in order to better understand the root of the problem. 

She is Not Your Rehab author Matt Brown told Breakfast’s John Campbell that many New Zealand men struggle to know how to express their emotions, after years of being told to “harden up”. 

The renowned Christchurch barber penned the book with the help of his wife Sarah, launched off the back of a powerful TEDx talk he gave in 2019. 

Taking the message from beyond the barbershop, She is Not Your Rehab offers a rethink of how Kiwi men deal with their past traumas. 

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RNZ: She Is Not Your Rehab anti-violence movement's new book being given away to all male prisoners

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NZ Herald: Woman's search for answers after child abused in CYF care

WARNING: This article discusses child sexual assault

Years have passed since Manaia's daughter was taken into care and sexually assaulted, but the hurt, distrust and anxiety have remained.

"It's something that we live with every day that's never going to go away, I don't even know if my daughter is okay now because it has been pushed under the rug."

At the time the woman became suicidal and stopped fighting to find out what happened as it was "falling on deaf ears" in 2012, however she's been inspired to share what happened now because of the recent high profile abuse in care cases.

Her child's assault, she says, is on her mind every day.

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1 News: Louisa Wall on Revenge Porn: 'We need to stop it, because it's not right'

An amendment to the Harmful Digital Communications Act, which will make posting intimate images or recordings without the explicit consent of those in the images a criminal offence, has widespread support from politicians.

Labour List MP Louisa Wall who is behind the amendment told Q+A “consensus across the House is we think that consent should be the threshold and we shouldn’t have any harm, intention to harm, or actual harm thresholds and I think it’s a big step forward in preventing this type of sexual violence".

At the moment the act requires proof there was an intent to cause harm when such images were posted.

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NZ Herald: Hundreds charged under New Zealand's Harmful Digital Communications Act

Five years after coming into force, more than 500 people have been charged criminally under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

And Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker says it has received nearly 14,000 civil complaints through the Act.

Data obtained by the Herald through the Official Information Act shows 556 people have been charged under the Harmful Digital Communications Act since its inception in 2015.

In the past few years the number of charges has increased, from 80 in 2016 to 127 in 2020.

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NZ Herald: Exclusive: Auckland revenge porn man sentenced, others warned against 'despicable' acts

An Auckland man has narrowly avoided jail after being convicted over an "appalling and despicable" revenge porn attack on his ex-girlfriend.

And the judge who sentenced him has a strong message for those posting or thinking of posting similar "despicable" content - "you will be held accountable and you will be punished".

It's the latest case to be tried under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, which came into force in 2015.

Figures released recently revealed that there had been 55 convictions up to June.

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NZ Herald: Revenge porn: Christchurch police won't charge man who uploaded sex tape without consent, cannot prove 'harm' to victim

Police will not charge a man who uploaded a sex tape and graphic images of a Christchurch woman to multiple pornography sites without her consent because they cannot prove he intended to cause her any harm.

Almost a year after the woman learned her sex tape had been shared without her knowledge - and viewed by tens of thousands of people around the world - police have confirmed the man responsible will not be prosecuted.

Under the current legislation, even though Jacques De Koker admitted uploading the footage without consent and "apologised" after being lambasted by a Civil Court judge, police say he has committed no criminal offence.

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RNZ: Suicide prevention strategy calls for radical change to help those in distress

A new community-led strategy for suicide prevention says many people are living in an extreme state of stress, the mental health services sector "feels overwhelmed" and health practitioners are not coping with growing need.

The strategic approach released this week by Healthy Families Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu says youth suicide and serious self-harm are increasing, men are dying from suicide at nearly three times the rate of women, and suicide rates among Māori continue to be disproportionately high.

The initiative is calling for radical change across the health system. It wants a coalition of health providers and the community to focus on reducing the "unacceptable" rate of suicide and bring lasting change to wellbeing in the region.

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RNZ: Process to get benefit money backdated 'punitive and retraumatising'

Welfare advocates are criticising the hurdles and traumatising questions women are facing to be refunded thousands of dollars wrongly taken from their benefit.

In April last year, the government scrapped the sanction that docked $28 a week from sole parents - mostly women - that didn't name the other parent.

Exemptions to the now-scrapped sanctions included family violence concerns, the pregnancy being the result of sexual violation and insufficient evidence to establish who the other parent is.

However, parents were not always informed about this or given an opportunity to apply.

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RNZ: MSD Minister discusses delayed reviews of sanctions cases

The social development minister has apologised for delays of more than two years in repaying women whose benefits were docked because they would not name the father of their children.

Up to $28 a week was cut from some women's benefits, and while the government scrapped the sanction in April last year, thousands are waiting for their cases to be reviewed, to see if they will be reimbursed.

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni told Checkpoint that so far 8595 women have been contacted out of 12,000 the issue may have affected. But she was not able to give details about the value of the repayments.

But the team of 20 case workers who were working on the issue were redeployed because of Covid-19.

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Stuff: Man subjected to electro-shock treatment at Lake Alice has injury claims rejected by ACC

A Hawke’s Bay man, who as a teenager received brutal treatment at Lake Alice psychiatric hospital, hopes others will come forward, after ACC rejected his injury claims.

Malcolm Richards​ was sent to Lake Alice in 1975 when he was just 15 years old, after becoming a victim of sexual abuse. He was there for two months, but says he has suffered “lifelong, hideous effects” of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

“It was not explained to me that I would be getting ECT. It was never explained to me what I was in for, and I was never asked to consent to it,” he said.

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Stuff: Helping stop childhood harm a priority for Harkness Fellowship award recipient

Studying how to curb childhood harm in Aotearoa will be at the top of Jane Kinsey’s agenda when she heads to the US on a prestigious fellowship award.

Nelson Marlborough Health’s general manager of mental health, addictions and disability support services Jane Kinsey has been awarded the Harkness Fellowship, allowing her to take a sabbatical from her role for a year to research adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Kinsey said her health-based work led her develop a deep interest in ACE, seeing the effects of children raised in families that lacked a “nurturing and caring environment”.

“You do see the impact of trauma, especially in people in early years, and it can impact long term health outcomes.”

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RNZ: Psychologists unable to take new clients fear 'tsunami' of mental health problems

Psychologists are turning away as many as 60 clients a month because they have no space to see them.

They say the situation is heartbreaking and they worry about what is happening to those they can not help.

Porirua and Wellington clinical psychologist Annie Talbot feared the lack of care in the community would lead to a tsunami of serious mental health problems.

"It is a daily occurrence of having to turn people away and me having to actually say 'I don't think I can run a wait list anymore' because I don't know when I am going to finish up with clients or when I'll have capacity," she said.

Nelson psychologist Kris Garstang said demand was at an all-time high as the stigma about seeking help for mental health problems fell away.

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RNZ: Well Child Tamariki Ora 'outdated' and 'inequitable', faces redesign after ministry review

The Well Child Tamariki Ora programme is outdated and inequitable, a review has found, and will likely change to a whānau-led model that pairs families with a nurse of kaiāwhina.

The programme, which began with Royal New Zealand Plunket in 1907, provides health and development screening for children and advice for parents from birth to five years of age, and is delivered by Whānau Āwhina Plunket and more than 60 other predominantly Māori and Pacific non-government organisations.

Some 87 percent of babies born in New Zealand last year were enrolled with the programme, but rates for Māori, Pacific, and whānau living in high deprivation areas were lower.

Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced the review findings at Takapūwāhia marae in Porirua this morning saying the programme, while developed with good intent, needed more consistency in referring tamariki to specialist services.

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RNZ: Increase in Cook Islands men seeking therapy for domestic violence

Rarotonga's only anti-domestic violence group, which mainly works with survivors of abuse, have seen an influx of perpetrators coming forward for therapy.

The Cook Islands Women's Counselling Centre - Punanga Tauturu, are now helping more men than women and there's growing concern tane aren't getting help at the early stages and are instead going straight to court.

Punanga Tauturu has been working to eliminate violence against women for over 20 years.

The group's Co-ordinator Rebeka Buchanan said the lack of early abuse prevention to help Cook Island families break out of cycles of abuse was an issue.

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NZ Herald: Family speak out: Ferro-James, 5, 'loved' the 'monster' who killed him - his father, William James Sio

The family of Ferro-James Tiopira Sio say the 5-year-old loved the "monster" who killed him - his father.

Today William James Sio, 25 was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years for the murder of his son in Rotorua emergency housing on February 8 last year, and related charges.

Court documents showed the boy died after a severe and sustained beating at the hands of his father, and that his father had a history of abusing him.

Following the sentencing, Ferro's Aunt Tracey released a statement on behalf of his whanāu, sharing memories of him and speaking out against abuse and violence.

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RNZ: Sio gets life sentence for murdering son in emergency housing

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NZ Herald: 'Violence and terror': Auckland police officer on trial for family violence charges

Warning: Disturbing content

A police officer accused of family violence and child cruelty allegedly called a young boy "sick" and a "pervert" for watching his mother, the officer's wife at the time, breastfeed.

The officer also allegedly forced his former stepson to say he was having sex with his cat, one incident in a string of allegations that led to a child cruelty charge.

The man's ex-wife is giving evidence at his trial at Auckland District Court.

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NZ Herald: Police officer on trial allegedly kicked pregnant ex-wife, called her 'useless'

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NZ Herald: Te Anau honeymoon killing: Judge tells undecided jury to deliberate longer

After not being able to agree on a verdict, the jury in an Invercargill murder trial have been told they have not deliberated for long enough and have been asked to continue.

The trial is to decide whether Balclutha man Rodney Fallowfield (53) is guilty of murdering his wife Shirley Reedy in Te Anau on May 15 last year.

Although he admits strangling his wife, his claim is he did not intend to kill her.

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NZ Herald: 'My whānau forgives you': Tainui Oti sentenced for murder of cousin

A man has told his cousin that he still loves him and his whānau have forgiven him for murdering his brother by "acts of savage violence" while he was "in a rage".

Tainui Andrew Oti has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 15 years and three months for violently assaulting his cousin "on and off for hours" in a Manurewa rental home they shared in February 2020, which led to his death.

The victim had moved in with Oti after being found rough sleeping by another family member at Māngere Bridge.

But on the night of February 28 after making a comment about Oti's children, was subject to a "thorough beating over an extended period of time".

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Stuff: Man moves on to new family after inflicting violence on now-former partner

A man who broke into a home to repeatedly attack his long-term partner has been allowed to serve his sentence at home with his new partner and child.

Judge Bruce Northwood​ said in the Palmerston North District Court on Tuesday he was very close to sending Cody Kinniburgh​ to prison for the “24 hours of serious family harm offending” he committed in November 2019.

Kinniburgh was instead sentenced to six months and one week of home detention for six offences, including burglary, injuring with intent and threatening grievous bodily harm.

The victim was a woman Kinniburgh had been in a relationship with for 5½ years, but it ended a few days before his crimes.

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NZ Herald: Justices reject Auckland baby killer's permanent name suppression bid

Graphic warning

A father convicted of beating his baby to death after what he said was a methamphetamine binge during Auckland's first Covid-19 lockdown can now be named again, after the Court of Appeal rejected his bid for permanent name suppression.

Jerome Dean had argued that the suppression wouldn't be for his own benefit, and that he was instead trying to protect his other young daughter who he didn't kill. Justices were dubious of the claim.

The three-judge Court of Appeal panel ruled against Dean last Friday, but the ruling itself was suppressed for one week so that he and the mother of his children could prepare for its release.

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Stuff: 'I don't feel like a kid anymore': Young girl faces rapist in court

A teenage girl faced her rapist in court as she told him how his actions had ruined her childhood and left her a different person than she was before.

The girl read out her victim impact statement in the Christchurch District Court on Friday where Stacy Karl Wheat, 47, was sentenced on multiple sexual offences.

Wheat had repeatedly raped and indecently assaulted the girl for months when she was 11 and 12 years old.

The young victim said was now distrustful of all men and said she did not feel like a kid anymore.

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