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Youth Rape Case Shows System is Flawed

Youth Rape Case Shows System is Flawed

Wednesday 21 Aug 2002 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Crime & Justice -- Zero Tolerance for Crime

The case of four Hawkes Bay youths who cannot be held accountable for raping and molesting a primary school-aged girl shows why the Government must review laws affecting young people, ACT Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Police are hamstrung and unable to do anything with the four teenagers who have admitted raping a girl for two years from when she was aged just six.

"The legal system is completely inadequate to deal with young serious offenders.

"These rapists have quite possibly ruined a young girl's life, yet all they face is a family group conference. That is a slap over the wrist in response to a despicable crime that society will not tolerate.

"Our police officers have been prevented from dealing with serious young offenders. New Zealand has no effective correctional facilities available for them.

"The Justice Minister's over-hyped youth justice "strategy" is proven today to be inadequate. ACT New Zealand says this country must:

· Impose adult sentences for adult crimes, ensuring young people serve their sentences in facilities separate from career criminals.

· Create a single agency (preferably the Police) and give it the responsibility and the full resources, rights and powers for ensuring orders in respect of child offenders are carried out.

· Limit Family Group Conferencing to only first and second offenders who have responsible family members, but end it as routine for habitual offenders.

· Drop the age for criminal responsibility to ten for homicide (like the UK) and serious assaults, and to age 12 for all other offences.

· End name and record suppression for guilty young people and their families, and open up closed courts.

· Abolish the Youth Court and end Family Court involvement in crime

"These rapists must be held to account for their actions. As a "punishment", a family group conference is an insult to the victim and her family," Dr Newman said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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