Justice System Sending Wrong Message on Child Abuse

Media Release 17 November 2012
Family First NZ says that the justice system in New Zealand is perpetuating the problem of child abuse by handing out ‘wet bus ticket’ sentences in response to cases of serious child abuse.

Family First NZ wrote to the Solicitor General asking them to appeal the sentence handed to a father who was sentenced to just a year’s home detention despite repeated assaults on his infant daughter that resulted in her legs being broken in five places, (with the appeal raising the sentence to two years 5 months). Family First is again writing to the Solicitor General to ask them to appeal the sentence of home detention handed out to a North Shore father who subjected his newborn baby to months of torture.

“This is another pathetic sentence that sends a dangerous message. We simply don’t value the life and protection of our vulnerable young children – based on the response of our justice system,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “This latest case involved ‘significant and repetitive violence’, and was described by the judge as ‘abhorrent’. The father attempted to cover up his actions and only appears to have shown remorse when caught – otherwise the abuse could be continuing today. To put a value on that as a ‘homestay’ for 12 months is insulting and pathetic.”

“As a community, we are trying to say that the abuse of our young and most vulnerable is completely unacceptable, and that our responsibility as adults is even greater around these young children – yet the consequences given out by the courts are completely undermining that message.”

“It is significant that the consequences for attacking a police officer or prison guard are being increased. It is time that children received the same increased level of protection,” says Mr McCoskrie. “On the same day as this decision, a man who shot at a police office received eight years in prison.”

“We would call on the Crown to appeal the sentence in this current case. People who murder, maim and torture our children need to know that children will be afforded greater protection by the judiciary,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS