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Weekly Media Roundup

February 02, 2024 at 1:55 PM

RNZ: Bar too high for urgent protection orders - family court lawyer

A family court lawyer is calling for legislative change, saying court and legal processes are exposing victims of domestic violence to further harm.

Vicki Currie says it is too hard for people in abusive relationships to get urgent protection orders.

A "without notice" application asks the judge to issue a temporary order without notifying the other party beforehand. That person gets a chance to respond before a final order is made.

However, the "incredibly high" thresholds meant some victims were forced to endure more abuse before getting help, Currie said.

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Stuff: CYF and SPCA tackle abuse as a team

In what is believed to be a world-first, Child, Youth and Family and the SPCA will join forces this week to combat abuse in New Zealand.

Tomorrow, the two groups will sign an agreement for the SPCA to report signs of child abuse when inspecting or taking animals from homes and, in return, CYF social workers to report neglected or abused animals they spot while working with families.

The agreement is believed to be the first in the world to introduce a reporting protocol between a national child protection agency and a national animal welfare society.

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Stuff: Fewer children in care, but more abuse for those who are

A new report into Oranga Tamariki reveals year-on-year increases to allegations and findings of neglect and abuse for children in care, despite fewer children being in state care.

The report, from Aroturuki Tamariki, the Independent Children’s Monitor, has raised growing concerns about the vetting and suitability of carers for vulnerable children.

Oranga Tamariki is the ministry responsible for looking after New Zealand’s most vulnerable children, including those who have been removed from families and homes due to neglect and abuse. But this annual review of the ministry has found neglect and abuse is continuing for hundreds of children in state care.

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RNZ: Oranga Tamariki 'silent' on how it will improve social worker visits after Aroturuki Tamariki report

A report by the Independent Children's Monitor has found 40 percent of children in Oranga Tamariki's care are not seeing a social worker as often as they should.

Aroturuki Tamariki said it had expected to see more improvement by the third year of its Experiences in Care annual reports.

"Not all tamariki and rangatahi are having their basic needs met, including fundamental requirements such as being seen by their social worker, proper support for their caregivers, and access to health, education and other services," the report said.

Oranga Tamariki did not know whether those in its care were receiving annual health and dental check ups, it said, reiterating the findings from an in-depth review Aroturuki Tamariki released last week.

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RNZ: Oranga Tamariki insists it has improved since damning data was collected

Oranga Tamariki's chief social worker, Peter Whitcombe, insists vast advances have been made since another damning report into the agency was conducted.

The Independent Children's Monitor's latest Experiences in Care report, released on Thursday, found 40 percent of children in Oranga Tamariki's care were not seeing a social worker as often as they should. Aroturuki Tamariki said it had expected to see more improvement by now, in the third year of reporting.

Whitcombe said the reporting window closed in June, reiterating it was a priority area for the agency.

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NZ Herald: Youth crime and justice: Court and prison less likely for new generations of youth

Most New Zealanders believe youth crime is getting worse. Statistics and research shows the opposite is true. The generations born since the 1990s are coming before the courts less often, and there has been a big drop in the numbers going to prison. Open Justice reporter Ric Stevens investigates what’s really going on.

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NZ Herald: Youth crime: Young offenders often child victims of family violence, neglect

Children and teenagers who commit serious crime tend to have things in common - backgrounds of violence and abuse, involvement with Oranga Tamariki, out-of-home placements into care, social deprivation, and stand-downs or expulsion from school. Open Justice reporter Ric Stevens looks at who are the young people appearing in our courts.

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RNZ: Police may step back from responding to family harm, mental health callouts - briefing paper

Police are seeking relief from growing pressures to tackle non-crime social problems.

A "refocus" of police work is the leading "key opportunity" in a briefing to the incoming Police Minister Mark Mitchell, released on Thursday.

The briefing says police have been forced, by the lack of other social services, to step in when it comes to family harm, mental health, and child protection calls.

The proposed change would involve "supporting managed withdrawal and advocating for that role to be filled by others".

"For example, reducing police's role in mental health crisis response is a clear opportunity, as is right sizing our response to family harm," the document says.

Responding even where there was no crime could work to prevent future harm, "but more often limits police's capacity to respond to other criminal offending the public reasonably expects us to address", the briefing said.

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RNZ: The public service agencies asked to cut spending

Finance Minister Nicola Willis is looking to slash annual public service spending annually by $1.5 billion and has asked "all departments" to identify savings.

National campaigned on slashing "back-office expenditure" across 24 public agencies, as part of its "Back Pocket Boost" tax plan.

The Public Service Association says it is a "very short-sighted approach". Labour public services spokesperson Ayesha Verrall says the minister is "sneaking in larger cuts than she signalled before the election".

Agencies have been asked to identify savings options of either 6.5 or 7.5 percent.

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RNZ: Police, refuges busy with summer spike in family violence

It has been a busy summer season for police and crisis intervention teams helping women and children living with violence in unsafe homes.

Christmas, New Year and school holidays can be a stressful time for some whānau - which the New Zealand Police say leads to increased family harm reports at this time of year.

Police said data around the call-outs this summer was not yet available, but confirmed family harm reports were generally on the rise.

They had almost doubled in the past decade - from 102,888 in 2013 to 191,640 in 2023.

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NZ Herald: Domestic violence in NZ: Are our strangulation laws working?

WARNING: This story details graphic family violence and may be upsetting.

The horrific crime of strangulation, fuelled by one person’s need to psychologically and physically control their victim, was commonly reported in the abuse histories of family harm murder victims. The introduction of a new law, a specific strangulation offence, was designed to highlight the fatal risks involved, facilitate a more effective criminal justice response, and highlight incidents of strangulation on the offender’s criminal record. Open Justice reporter Natalie Akoorie looks into whether the new law has made any difference five years on.

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RNZ: OT doesn't know if kids in care are getting health check-ups - report

Oranga Tamariki does not know whether children in care are receiving annual health and dental check-ups, a new report by the the Independent Children's Monitor has found.

The report Access to Primary Health Services and Dental Care is the second in-depth review by Aroturuki Tamariki on a specific aspect of the Oranga Tamariki system.

The report, which looked at access to primary health services and dental care for tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) in care, found Oranga Tamariki had not yet implemented basic health requirements.

In 2019 the National Care Standards (NCS) Regulations came into effect, setting out the minimum standards required when a child was in care.

The regulations - which apply to Oranga Tamariki and any other agency with custody and care responsibilities - included a requirement that health and dental needs were identified through annual checks.

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RNZ: Oranga Tamariki report shows more children harmed in its care

Oranga Tamariki (OT) says it is "horrendous and absolutely unacceptable" that more children than ever are being harmed under their watch.

The agency's Safety in Care report shows 9 percent of children in its care were harmed in the year ending June 2023, including neglect, physical and sexual abuse. It is a significant jump since the ministry's first report in 2019, when about 5.6 percent of children in OT's care were found to have been harmed. 

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RNZ: Former All Black Byron Kelleher’s decade of repeated drunken violence against women

The text message stopped Yuliana Desta in her tracks.

Four words that brought back the trauma she’d spent the past four years trying to suppress: “He’s done it again.”

Attached was a link to a news story about Desta’s ex-fiancée, former All Black Byron Kelleher, facing domestic violence charges in France. Soon, her phone would be flooded with messages linking to headlines from around the world.

According to the reports, which originated from French newspaper Le Parisien, Kelleher last week appeared before the 24th chamber of the Paris criminal court on charges allegedly committed against another former partner. 

The police complaint details how Kelleher allegedly assaulted a 37-year-old woman during a violent altercation at their home in June last year, including the claim that he dragged his former partner down the hallway by her hair.

In the victim’s statement to police, she described how episodes of “verbal and physical violence” were a frequent occurrence in the relationship, recounting an incident in Mauritius in February 2023 in which local police were called, and another alleged assault in May last year on Prince Albert of Monaco’s boat. 

Kelleher denies the allegations. While he acknowledges the couple argued, he claims he had “not touched her”.

The woman’s story felt all too familiar to Desta. The high-flying lifestyle. The parties. The glamorous events. The drinking. The violence.

The reports compelled Desta, who met Kelleher in Bali in September 2018, to speak out about her experiences.

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The Spinoff: Will Byron Kelleher ever really be held accountable for his actions?

The former All Black’s criminal behaviour has been downplayed in the media for years. As more abuse allegations come to light, will we ever see him for what he is?

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1 News: I spent 18 months surfing porn sites for research

Content warning: This article mentions rape and explicit sexual language.

With a lack of sex education in schools, young people are turning to porn to get clued up. So Dr Jane Cherrington bravely spent years of her life watching and researching porn to try and figure out what exactly is out there and how the heck we can start talking about it.

Cherrington first got the idea to research porn after finding Japanese anime porn showing creatures in bondage using a candle “in interesting places” on her son's phone.

She quickly realised she was well out of her depth with how to even begin the conversation. So she ended up spending 18 months surfing porn sites to see what else was out there.

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RNZ: Auckland couple going without to help homeless youth

A young Auckland couple are digging into their own pockets to build the first 24-hour youth emergency centre in the country.

Aaron Hendry and Summer Hendry are using their savings to build a service that will offer wraparound support for young people sleeping rough, including 24/7 accommodation, health services and legal advice.

The couple have been involved in youth homelessness projects for more than a decade. This year, they decided to start their own organisation, Kick Back, with a focus on filling the gap on support for at-risk children and young adults.

Hendry said the idea came from frustration and "seeing the harm that is occurring right now and how the emergency accommodation system doesn't provide a safety net for those young people".

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Stuff: Father of woman murdered by Kiwi ex-husband speaks out

Warning: This story contains graphic details that may upset readers.

The father of an Australian woman Hannah Clarke who was brutally killed by her Kiwi ex-husband, a former rugby league player, says there were signs of “coercive control” in their relationship.

In a column written for The Australian, Lloyd Clarke said that ex-Warriors player Rowan Baxter would control what his daughter Hannah could spend her money on.

“Coercive control included dictating what she could wear, who she could spend time with, her social media accounts, tapping her phone, tracking her car,” Clarke wrote.

Clarke alleges that Baxter would threaten self-harm if she didn’t give into his demands, isolated her from family and asked friends to spy on her.

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NZ Herald: Woman’s rape complaint after speed-dating one of thousands dropped by police

Warning: This story deals with issues of sexual assault

She met him at a speed-dating event, and later, said he raped her. He told the police he’d stopped when she said “no”, and they dropped the investigation. The doctor’s note following an assessment read: “Sex assault by bodily force: Probable”. The complaint was among more than 10,000 individual sexual assault offences reported to the police in 2021, the vast majority of which never got further than a preliminary investigation. Tracy Neal investigates.

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Category: News Media