Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Goff makes sexual offences gender neutral

Goff makes sexual offences gender neutral

Justice Minister Phil Goff introduced into Parliament today legislation that makes all sexual offences gender neutral.

"The Crimes Amendment No 2 Bill is the result of the first overall review of sexual crimes in the 1961 Crimes Act, which includes offences which date back to 1908, and tends to presume that women are not capable of sexual offending," Mr Goff said.

"The gender neutral provisions of the legislation require everyone to be treated equally under the law, with all sex offences expressed and applied in a gender-neutral manner. "Under current law, women are not committing an offence if they have a consensual relationship with a boy under the age of 16. However if a man has a similar relationship with a girl of the same age he faces up to seven years' jail.

"Several cases this year have highlighted that inconsistency, including one woman who admitted publicly that she went ahead with a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy because she knew she would not be charged.

"That anomaly also means there is no redress for the victims of women who indulge in such practices. By making sexual offences gender neutral, the new legislation will see all perpetrators and victims dealt with in the same way, regardless of their gender.

"Offences that currently relate to sexual intercourse will also be extended to cover all forms of sexual connection. At the same time, the penalty for sexual connection with a person 12-16 years will be increased to a maximum of 10 years' jail.

The penalty for sexual connection with a child under 12 is up to 14 years' jail.

"The legislation leaves in place the offence of rape (a male-against-female offence only) for one category of sexual violation. However it invites public submissions on whether this should remain as a separate offence or, as in the case of like offences, be termed 'unlawful sexual connection'."

Mr Goff said sexual offences against children would be simplified into three groupings: sexual conduct with a child under 12, sexual conduct with a child under 16, and sexual assault irrespective of age. Loopholes would also be closed to prevent offenders escaping conviction in cases where the precise age of the child could not be established.

"No defence of consent will be available for offences involving a victim under 12. Only limited defences similar to current defences (e.g. marriage, age of the accused) will be available in relation to offences against a child under 16.

"The 12-month time limit that currently exists on prosecution of some offences involving victims between 12 and 16 will be repealed.

"A new offence of familial sexual abuse, covering all forms of sexual connection, will be introduced to protect those under the age of 20 from abuse of a power relationship.

"The offence covers a wider range of relationships including foster parents, adoptive parents, guardianship and those related by marriage.

"A revised offence will cover sexual conduct with an intellectually impaired person when consent is induced by exploiting the impairment."

Mr Goff said the new legislation also provided a statutory basis for drug rape prosecutions by clarifying that there is no consent when a person has been drugged in order to remove their ability to give consent to sexual connection.

The Bill also facilitates New Zealand's compliance with the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news