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Strengthening child protection is a good move

11 December 2008

Strengthening child protection is a good move: Greens

The Green Party has welcomed the Government's bill to add to the Sentencing Act guidance on legal consequences for offending against children.

"Giving the courts further tools to deal specifically with neglect or violence against young people and children is an important extension of the Greens' campaign to stamp out violence against children," Green Party Law and Order Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

The Greens have ensured children have the same legal protections against violence as adults. This bill is a welcome addition.

"Acts of violence or neglect against our most vulnerable citizens are abhorrent," Mrs Turei says.

"There's no doubt that community and family level intervention to prevent such violence from occurring in the first place is the only solution to stop neglect or violence against children.

"Poor incomes, insecure employment and miserable housing contribute to the isolation of families that is often at the core of this offending. Early intervention is the key to preventing such abuse.

"I agree with Simon Power that 'corrections policy is failed social policy'. But National's economic and labour policies will contribute to increasing family instability and poverty.

"We will be moving one amendment to the bill to prevent counsel in sentencing from debating the relative defencelessness of a child. Arguments as to whether a child could have told someone or run away or fought back are irrelevant.

"Similar arguments are made in adult sexual assault and rape cases and are used to apportion blame to the victim. That is unacceptable in those cases and grossly unacceptable in cases of child neglect or assaults.

"We expect that the Government and other parties would agree to such an amendment to ensure the highest level of protection for young victims."


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