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Disturbing Trend in Child Sex Abuse Offences

Friday 10 April 2005

Disturbing Trend in Child Sex Abuse Offences

Today the Department of Internal Affairs advised of the prosecution in Palmerston North of David Stuart Hartley found guilty possessing over 4,500 of child pornography images on his computer. The images included girls as young under two years old being sexually abused by men.

Hartley was sentenced to 10 months for this offence. Under New Zealand law the producing and trading in child pornography was increased in February 2005 from 12 months to 10 years imprisonment. In the case of Hartley the offences occurred prior to the new law being enacted.

Alan Bell, Director of ECPAT says “The sentence of 10 months does not adequately reflect the seriousness of this offence. It is hoped that in future the sentencing will properly reflect the recent changes in the legislation. There is a strong linkage between possession of child pornography and child offending. In the interest of protecting our children it is important that those breaking the law in regard to child pornography are dealt with strongly as a deterrent to others.

Bell continues “However perhaps the most disturbing element is the evidence collected over a period of time that reveals the nature of child sex abuse cases are becoming more tragic.

In this case the fact that some of the images of girls being sexually abused by men were aged under two years. People need to understand these images are of real children who have been abused and raped and had their innocence ripped from them. Their images are now available forever and can never be retrieved. This means that in a sense every time these images are viewed the child is once again violated”

ECPAT is a not for profit agency set up to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. .


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