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Child sentencing bill passed unanimously

Hon Simon Power
13 December 2008
   Media Statement


Child sentencing bill passed unanimously

Justice Minister Simon Power says Parliament today made an unequivocal statement that violence and neglect of children will not be tolerated.

The Sentencing (Offences against Children) Amendment Bill was passed unanimously through all stages today.

It is the first step in the National-led Government’s plan to better protect children.

“This unanimous statement by the Parliament sends a strong message that harming or ill treating children will not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form, and I would like to thank all parties for supporting it.

“National said we would deliver this law change in our first 100 days, and we have.

“We consider it so important that we have delivered it before Christmas, when so many children are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect.”

The law change lists the factors the court must take into account when sentencing for violence or neglect, and those factors will make sentences more severe than would otherwise be the case. 

It requires the court to:

Take into account the defencelessness of children.
Consider the serious or long-term harm that can result from offending against children.
Take into account any threats made to the victim to prevent him or her reporting to the authorities, or any attempts to conceal the offending from the authorities.
“National promised to review the Sentencing Act as it relates to violent crimes against children, and this is the first part of that promise.

“Officials are already working to bring sentences for crimes against children into line with penalties for crimes against adults, and that will result in legislation when the House returns next year.”




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