Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Youth Justice system protecting offenders

Youth Justice system protecting offenders as youth offences become more violent

12th July 2018 2018

The latest in a string of violent youth offending is that of a 17-year-old schoolboy who has appeared in the youth court on a series of rape charges. His identity cannot be revealed as all youth offenders who appear in the youth court get automatic name suppression.

The youth has been charged with the rape of three girls aged under 16, one charge of unlawful sexual connection relating to a girl aged between 12 and 16 and there may be other complainants to follow.

Sensible Sentencing Trust’s youth advocate Jess McVicar says she is sickened by these charges and wonders just what exactly is considered a serious offence in the eyes of the youth court.

“If an offence is of a serious nature, then the youth court can refer the case to the adult court, but this youth remains in the youth justice system! How does that work; since when is rape not a serious offence?!”

Jess commented that statistics released showing youth crime rates are on a low is misleading, as the statistics only show charges that have been laid, and not how many offences have actually been committed. If a case is referred to a family group conference (FGC), then is it not recorded as an offence. Jess says that the Youth Court refer most cases to FGC’s.

She says “Another recent case is the murder of Kelly Donner. Five youths aged between 14 and 16 years old were involved. Four of the youths have been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in the Youth Court, and one was referred to the High Court charged with murder. Three teenagers in Hawkes Bay alone have been charged with murder over the past few months.“

“Clearly the soft approach is not working as youth offending is becoming more violent, yet there are no changes in how the offending is being dealt with, or the consequences for the offenders.”

We have been told youth justice is working because the statistics say so, but Jess believes the number of youths offending is higher than reports show, as it is being swept under the carpet because they do not know how to control it or stop it.

There needs to be a clear line drawn as to what is considered a serious offence and rape should be included. Jess said “We believe any violent crime that includes an attack with a weapon, rape, theft with a weapon and murder should all be classified as serious offences.”

Jess says Sensible Sentencing Trust would like to see a Three Strikes model and/or NZ First MP Darroch Ball’s Youth Education Training & Employment Bill (YETE Bill) demerit point system introduced into the youth justice system. This is a residential military programme for 15 to 18-year olds that will work in conjunction with the "demerit point system" within the youth justice system - whereby Judges can send youth with care and protection issues who are exhibiting anti-social behaviour, on this 3-year programme which will act as prevention and intervention to stop them developing into long term criminals.

“Until a youth reaches the age of 18 years, any crimes they committed that are dealt with through the Youth Court, will not be recorded against their adult offending record, no matter how many offences they have committed. So, what are they going to learn from that? Absolutely nothing! It’s not until they turn 18 years old and are found guilty of an offence, and are imprisoned, that they will get a rude awakening, but it is too late by then as they are already set on their course of criminal offending.” says Jess

Youth need to be taught the ABCD’s; accountability. boundaries, consequences and discipline. That is the only way there is going to be any hope to get the offending rates down and therefore creating less victims.

If we want to reduce prison numbers, then we need to start with troubled youth and introduce the YETE Bill – we say, “Let’s do this!” ENDS



© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Reforming Parliament’s Toxic Culture

It would be nice to think Parliament was a forum where rationality ruled – and where policies are raised and evaluated in terms of their contribution to the greater good. Obviously, it isn’t like that... More>>

Historic Assualt Allegation: Parliamentary Service Staff Member Stood Down
Rt Hon Trevor Mallard said today: “I do not want to cut across any employment or possible police investigations, but I am satisfied that the Parliamentary Service has removed a threat to the safety of women working in the Parliamentary complex." More>>


Fatal 2018 Crash: Police Officer Should Not Have Engaged In Pursuit

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer should not have tried to stop or pursue a car thought to contain young people in Palmerston North on 28 May 2018. More>>


New Poverty Targets: Goals Overlook 174000 Children In Worst Poverty

Child Poverty Action Group is pleased to see the Government set ambitious 10-year targets for child poverty reduction, but we are disappointed not to see a target set for improving thousands of young lives where the worst of poverty is found. More>>


Study: Guidelines Needed To Avoid Risks In Government AI

New Zealand is a world leader in government algorithm use – but measures are needed to guard against their dangers. This is the conclusion of a New Zealand Law Foundation-funded report from the University of Otago’s Artificial Intelligence and Law in New Zealand Project. More>>


Pike River: Families Welcome Opening Of Drift

The group representing 29 of the Pike River Families - the Pike River Family Reference Group - has welcomed the unsealing of the mine at a private family event this morning... More>>


Auckland Harbour Bridge: New Design For Walking And Cycling Crossing

The NZ Transport Agency has released plans for its preferred option for a shared path over the Auckland Harbour Bridge which will transform walking and cycling not only across the harbour, but throughout the city. The Transport Agency says its preferred ... More>>



Shaw First Reading Speech: Climate Change Response Bill

Madam Speaker, today we begin the task of amending the Climate Change Response Act [2002], to fulfil the commitment that we have made, as a country, to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. More>>


Housing: More Unsold Kiwibuild Houses Bought By Govt

The Crown underwrite for unsold Kiwibuild homes has been triggered for a second time. Now lack of sales in Mike Greer's development in Canterbury and Auckland means the government has had to buy back seven more homes. More>>





InfoPages News Channels