Tuesday 6 March 2018
#TIMESUP FOR NEW ZEALAND’S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
A specialist provider of support for survivors of sexual violence is calling on the government to make changes to the criminal justice system for sexual offending.
HELP is using International Women’s Day, this Thursday 8th March, to highlight the need for changes that reduce the trauma of the criminal justice process for survivors, encourage offenders to take responsibility for their behaviour, and ultimately achieve greater justice.
“Sexual harassment, abuse and violence ends here. The time has come for those causing sexual harm to be held to account. Whether that harm is perpetrated in a boardroom, a back alley or a bedroom, it ends now,” says Kathryn McPhillips, HELP Executive Director.
“However, if New Zealand is going to have any chance of building on global movements such as #metoo and #timesup and improving our appalling sexual violence statistics, we need Government to smooth the routes to accountability for sexual offending,” she says.
McPhillips called for four actions from the Government:
- Revisit the 2012 Law Commission Issues Paper ‘Alternative pre-trial and trial processes: possible reforms’
- Move beyond mediation in response to sexual harassment. Any response must take into account the differences in gender and institutional power that breed sexual harassment
- Encourage employers to take responsibility for providing a safe environment rather than evading liability when sexual harm has occurred.
- Fund sufficient community treatment so that it is available for those who harm and those who are harmed – where and when it is needed.
McPhillips said the 2012 Law Commission paper presented many options that would make a difference, particularly moving to judge-led questioning and establishment of a treatment court.
HELP is asking New Zealanders to wear black on International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March) to show solidarity against sexual violence. And, if they are in a position to, upload a picture of themselves wearing black to social media using #togetherinblack. More information can be found at helpauckland.org.nz
New Zealand sexual abuse statistics:
· It is estimated that by the age of 12, one in four girls will have been sexually abused, mostly with genital contact involved. The estimate increases to one in three by the age of 16.
· It is estimated that by the age of 16, one in seven boys will have been sexually abused.
· It is estimated that one in five women has experienced a sexual assault with some women experiencing multiple assaults.
· Estimates are that one in ten sexual assaults in New Zealand are reported. Of these, three of these go to court, and one of those leads to a conviction. That means that only about 1 in every 100 assaults leads to a conviction.
· There are experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence agencies around New Zealand who can support survivors and their family and friends. Visit toah-nnest.org.nz or call Rape Crisis on 0800 88 33 00 or HELP on 09623-1700.
The Law Commission’s 2012 Issues Paper can be found at: http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/sites/default/files/projectAvailableFormats/NZLC%20IP30.pdf
Kathryn McPhillips, HELP Executive Director, 0274412711
Conor Twyford, Chief Executive Wellington HELP 0272778149
Maggy Tai Rakena, Manager, START, 02102534425
Ann Weaver, Manager, Counselling Services Centre, 021444382
Michelle Clayton, CEO, Family Action, 0275753102
Lisa Marwick, Executive Director, Project Restore, 021313323
Claire Fahey, Manager, Whanganui Safe and Free, 06 343 3416