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Collins: new bill fights child sexual abuse online

Hon Judith Collins

Minister of Justice

27 May 2013 Media Statement
Collins: new bill fights child sexual abuse online

Justice Minister Judith Collins will this week introduce a bill to Parliament increasing maximum penalties for child sexual abuse online and other objectionable publication offences.

Ms Collins says the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill shows the Government’s commitment to crack down on the production, trade and possession of material showing child sexual abuse online.

The Bill also includes other measures to provide greater protection for children from child sexual exploitation.

“We are targeting criminals who prey on children, either by feeding the supply or fuelling the demand for the insidious child sexual abuse market,” Ms Collins says.

“Widespread use of the internet now allows this abhorrent material to be easily viewed and shared in ways and in volumes unimagined only a decade ago. Offenders can possess collections of more than a million images of sexually exploited children.

“When offenders collect and share offensive material, it encourages those who create material featuring child sexual abuse to produce more of it, which means more children are abused.

“To help stop this cycle, we’re increasing the penalties for possession, distribution, and production of harmful material, sending a clear message that the exploitation and abuse of children will not be tolerated.

“We are also creating a new offence for indecent communication with a child (anyone under 16 years old). This reflects the fact that social networking sites, online chat programmes and communication tools such as texting have made it easier for adults with abusive intentions to communicate with children,” Ms Collins says.

The new measures include:

• increasing the maximum penalty for possession, import or export of an objectionable publication from 5 years to 10 years imprisonment

• increasing the maximum penalty for distributing or making an objectionable publication from 10 years to 14 years imprisonment

• creating a presumption of imprisonment for repeat offenders - any person convicted of a child sexual exploitation offence for a second time will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment

• making it clear in the Classification Act that possession of objectionable material includes intentionally viewing electronic material without consciously downloading or saving it

• creating a new offence of indecent communication with a child (anyone under the age of 16) which includes texting, online and verbal communication.

The Bill also reinforces the Government’s commitment to international efforts to fight child sexual abuse online. Last year, New Zealand was one of 48 countries to sign up to the Global Alliance against child sexual abuse online.

The Global Alliance aims to eliminate legal loopholes exploited by the distributors of child abuse material, strengthen efforts to grow the Interpol international database of child abuse material, and make it easier to initiate joint cross-border police investigations.


ENDS

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