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Weekly Media Roundup

September 01, 2023 at 2:39 PM

Newsroom: Family Court is an unsafe space for victims of family violence

That victims of family violence should need an independent guide to help them with support information shows the systemic failures of our court system

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The Post: Missing Marokopa family: Were warning signs missed or ignored?

Carrie Leonetti is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland, and an expert in the family court.

OPINION: The whole country is watching the search for Tom Phillips and his missing children with bated breath.

We want to know where the children are, what has happened to them, and whether they are all right. We want to know who is helping Tom Phillips elude authorities and prevent his children from seeing their mother, and why.

But I also have a different set of questions. I would like to know whether this tragedy was preventable. Were there warning signs that were missed or ignored? If so, have we learned from this tragedy so that we can prevent the next one?



RNZ: Is it time for NZ to introduce a stalking law?

A clinical psychologist and domestic violence specialist is calling for a specific law to tackle stalking, saying the current piecemeal approach isn't working for victims.

Stalking and harassment are currently covered by different pieces of legislation, including the Harassment Act, the Family Violence Act and the Harmful Digital Communications Act. 

Clinical psychologist Dr Alison Towns has spent the last 30 years working with domestic violence survivors, as well as doing research into the topic. She is part of the Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children, and also helped establish the Family Violence Death Review Committee. 

Dr Towns says New Zealand needs a criminal stalking law, and police need to be better trained to identify and respond to stalking. 



RNZ: Referrals to Women's Refuge at 'epidemic levels'

Women's Refuge says the number of referrals to its services remain at epidemic levels.

Last year, 52,000 women and children were referred, and an average 71 crisis calls answered each day.

Refuge chief executive Ang Jury said this year, the numbers remained unacceptably high.

"I think we are needing to urgently start doing some serious education work if we're going to have a shot at pulling some of these numbers down in years to come," she said.



RNZ: Mama Hooch sexual assaults: Survivors describe how crimes left them forever changed

Survivors who were drugged and sexually attacked by Danny and Roberto Jaz at Christchurch bar Mama Hooch have told a court the brothers' crimes have left them feeling damaged, fearful and forever changed.

The men used their positions in their family businesses - as bar manager at Mama Hooch and chef at neighbouring restaurant Venuti - to routinely spike drinks, drug and sexually violate patrons from 2015 to 2018.



Stuff: How a group of women confronted the Mama Hooch rapists and took back control

One by one, eight women stood in court, faced their attackers and took back control.

Each had a story to tell about the trauma and misery inflicted upon them by Danny and Roberto Jaz – the Mama Hooch rapists.

Their accounts were all different but chillingly similar.

The brothers’ offending over a three and a half year period was at a level unparalleled in New Zealand.

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The Spinoff: The Lauren Dickason trial and perinatal depression

For those suffering from perinatal depression or anxiety, the details of the tragic case of a mother charged with murdering her three children have been particularly affecting. Kristina Grace reflects on the issues the trial has raised.

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Newsroom: The problem with jury trials

Twelve heads are better than one, but when those heads are labouring under the same misconceptions about sexual assault it's a recipe for injustice, writes Yvette Tinsley

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Stuff: Time for parties to step up: Where are the policies aimed at helping children?

Yet even with a clear roadmap, the current policies being promised in the election lead-up will have little impact for children and their families struggling the most. Instead, politicians are taking a reactive approach.

Take youth crime, for instance. It's been a hot topic with a number of headline announcements – everything from boot camps and coining a new term, the Young Serious Offender, to building more prison-like residences for children. But despite the political rhetoric and media interest, the reality is that just 5% of children are in conflict with the law. The real disappointment of all the policy commitments is that not one of them is looking to address the real drivers of youth crime: poverty, substance abuse, exclusion, and enduring cycles of violence.

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NZ Herald: Ōtara baby homicide case: Hamuera Rawhiti sentenced for killing 5-month-old son, Clarity Turu


An Auckland man who would go into fits of jealous rage - kicking and stomping his pregnant partner in the head as she curled into a ball to protect her belly - experienced fatherhood for less than half a year before he turned his aggression on their infant son, killing him.

Clarity Turu was so young and defenceless he could not yet roll over by himself or sit unsupported on the day in October 2020 that Hamuera Rawhiti fatally tortured the 5-month-old, according to court documents recently obtained by the Herald.

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Te Ao Māori News: Beloved Māori warden murdered in frenzied stabbing

WARNING: This story contains graphic details of violence that readers may find disturbing.

High on cannabis and methamphetamine, Aaron Wilson inflicted a “highly brutal and callous” attack on his partner, frenetically stabbing her 39 times as he pinned her down on the floor.

Betty Maree Paparoa, better known has Maree, had been fighting cancer for many years, was a loyal Māori warden of more than a decade, and a staunch advocate for those suffering abuse or suicidal thoughts.

The 46-year-old’s selfless work around not only the community but within her own whānau often saw her dropping everything to help those in need, making her murder even harder to comprehend by those who knew and loved her.

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Newshub: Victim advocates want more court support for survivors who pursue prosecution

Victim advocates want a more supportive process for sexual abuse survivors who pursue prosecution.

It comes after two men were sentenced to home detention on Tuesday at the Auckland District Court, for what the Judge called "pack offending", granting the pair permanent name suppression because of undue hardship and risk.

Paulette Benton-Grieg, senior lecturer at AUT's Law School, told Newshub the case has sparked discussion about the handling of sexual assault cases.



Stuff: State care abuse survivors take Crown to court over 'grave' compensation concerns

A group of state care abuse survivors are taking the Attorney-General David Parker to court over a repayment scheme that they argue doesn’t acknowledge the serious sexual, physical and psychological abuse that they were subjected to.

The dispute looks at the Ministry of Social Development’s Rapid Payment Framework, which offers quick payouts based on how long a person was involved with Child, Youth and Family (CYF).

The four complainants, through their lawyer, say their main concern is the settlement agreement survivors have to sign to receive the payment.



The Spinoff: The misery of Marylands

At Marylands School, sexual and physical abuse by Catholic brothers was brutal, prevalent and normalised. Survivors were so traumatised that, after they left, they found it difficult to understand the boundaries between right and wrong. 

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1 News: First reading of family violence divorce bill 'incredible' for survivor

Last night's first reading of the Family Proceedings Amendment Bill, which aims to address violence in a marriage or civil union, was incredible for Ashley Jones, the woman who brought the bill to life.

List MP Angie Warren-Clark presented the bill to Parliament, reflecting on her own journey with living in an abusive household during her childhood.

"The violence I experienced growing up has shaped my life's work to break the silence, the shame, the stigma, and the myths of family violence," Warren-Clark said.

Appearing on Breakfast this morning, Jones said the reading was better than anything she could have expected.



Newstalk ZB: Sexual abuse support group on potential affirmative consent legislation

A Select Committee is wanting to see greater legislative change around defining sexual consent.

It's asking the next government to lawfully outline what consent is in sexual offences - like many other countries have.

Current New Zealand laws only state what is not.

HELP executive director Kathryn Phillips joined Francesca Rudkin.



Stuff: Consent law reform report ‘beacon of hope’ for survivors, advocate says

A report on consent law reform in Aotearoa is a “beacon of hope” for survivors of sexual assault, an advocate says.

The justice select committee released a report on Wednesday in response to a petition calling for consent law reform in Aotearoa.

The petition amassed 12,000 signatures and was delivered to Parliament in August 2022.

Mt Roskill resident Layba Zubair started the petition in response to her own negative experiences with the legal system.



NZ Herald: Government’s plan to tackle ram raids violates the rights of children, says attorney-general

The Government’s plan to crack down on ram raids has been given a stinging rebuke by Attorney-General David Parker, who says it is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act (BORA) on multiple grounds.

He said the new proposals might be justified if the benefits outweighed the harms, but the evidence suggested that wouldn’t be the case.

The Ram Raid Offending and Related Measures Amendment Bill is one of several bills the Government is progressing under urgency in the last sitting week of Parliament.

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NZ Herald: Oranga Tamariki caregivers walk away after losing faith in the system

WARNING: This article discusses sexual abuse and may be upsetting to some readers.

When a preschooler told Sandra Jones she’d been abused, the Oranga Tamariki caregiver took detailed notes and passed the information straight to a social worker - who then questioned her motivation for doing so.

It wasn’t the reaction the experienced Whangārei caregiver or her husband Mike* were expecting, but very little about the handling of the little girl’s case was at the standard they believe is required from a government department responsible for the wellbeing of vulnerable children.



Stuff: Missing 12-year-old: Police admit talk of 'older boyfriend' was inappropriate

Police have admitted some of the information released in their public appeal to find a missing 12-year-old girl last week “was not appropriate”.

When police first appealed for sightings of a missing 12-year-old Auckland girl they took to Facebook to post her full name, photograph and tell the public she was “most likely with her older boyfriend”.

Less than 24 hours later, the Facebook post had been removed, and the public was instead being told the girl was “in the company of persons much older than herself”.

Now, police’s use of language has been accused of “perpetuating a narrative that blames victims instead of holding offender’s to account”.



NZ Herald: Mother devastated after children uplifted by police and Oranga Tamariki in international custody battle

The Barbies are where the two girls left them - moving the dolls from the lounge floor would mean Maria’s children really are gone.

“You’re grieving, but they’re still alive, just not in your care. It’s a really unusual feeling and you can still feel them. I haven’t slept properly, I’ll wake up in the night.”

Wednesday July 19 was the day the world she knew fell away beneath her feet, the day her children were taken.

Their departure was expected, but the way she said it played out, with the involvement of a detective, police officers and staff, was far from the civilised airport handover she had imagined.

Maria* is in the throes of an international custody battle.



Stuff: Collecting child sexual abuse images makes you an abuser, survivor advocate says

We need to find better ways of responding to the kind of sexual offending that Lawrence Peter Stephens has just been sentenced for.

The charges against him covered possession of 218 images of children and animals being sexually abused. 140 of these were considered to be of the most serious category as they showed children being subjected to penetrative sex.

As Judge Kevin Glubb pointed out, “this is not victimless offending, it is actual children being brutalised in the most horrendous way”.


Category: News Media