Media Release 10 June 2013
Family First NZ is slamming a decision by a Wellington District Court judge to dismiss charges against a grossly drunk mother who endangered the lives of her two boys in a potential house fire.
“The neighbours had to intervene three times to help the mother and protect the children and it was probably their actions that prevented a massive tragedy – yet Judge Stephen Harrop has implied that her neglect and drunken state while responsible for her children was not unreasonable,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “She was also found guilty of obstructing a police officer.”
“This decision is condoning parents being drunk-in-charge of our children and sends a dangerous message.”
“The link between alcohol abuse and child abuse is strong and decisions like these ignore the urgent need to tackle our binge drinking culture and the harm it does to our children and families,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“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 and parental neglect. This is a pathetic response from the courts. We simply don’t value the life and protection of our vulnerable young children – based on the response of our justice system.”
“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.”
“We would call on the Crown to appeal the sentence in this current case. Parents need to be warned that alcohol abuse and parenting are a dangerous mix,” says Mr McCoskrie.