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Confronting, Treating Sex Abusers Good For Society

From today onwards sexually abusive young people will not be left to become even more dangerous adult sex abusers, but given intensive treatment to lessen their threat to others, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today at the opening of the new Christchurch treatment unit.

"This rehabilitative unit will give adolescents who have sexually abused others, intensive treatment, with similar features to that of the highly successful Kia Marama programme operating at Rolleston Prison.

"Abuse is never acceptable. Confronting young people who are abusers, and getting them to face up to their actions and their problems is good for them and good for society.

"Ignoring their problems and leaving them to become more dangerous will help no-one. The young people who will come to this unit belong to a family, a neighbourhood, and a community and we need treatment facilities like this to get them back on the right track," Mrs Shipley said.

She acknowledged the support for the treatment unit from people in the region.

"The need for a specialist treatment unit like this is a difficult choice for a community to face up to, and I acknowledge the difficulties it has caused. The alternative is to ignore it and have these adolescents running loose causing harm to others in our neighbourhoods with no requirement to confront their problems.

"We have faced the tough job of finding locations and building new facilities ever since 1990 when Labour closed down homes which had places to care for more than 200 young people."

Barnardos will operate the Christchurch unit - Te Poutama Arahi Rangatahi 'The Steps to Guide Youth' - which will cater for up to 12 youths under the age of 17 who, for a variety of reasons need 24 hour supervised care for 12-18 months.

"Barnardo's has a responsibility to those in the community who supported the unit's establishment to retain confidence in the way it is being run. I feel confident that Barnardos' management will retain the confidence of the community," said Mrs Shipley.


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