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Court decision on paedophile sends unfortunate message

Court decision on paedophile sends unfortunate message

Auckland, 7 September, 2011: The recent decision by an Auckland District Court judge to discharge a man who had pleaded guilty to performing an indecent act on a four-year-old sent an unfortunate signal to the community in terms of how this sort of behaviour should be addressed, Jacqui Dillon, CEO of the SAFE Network, said today.

“The message needs to be very clearly registered that any inappropriate sexual behaviour between adults and children should always have real consequences,” she said.

“This needs to reflect the long-term harm this behaviour causes and the requirement that anyone who has engaged in it confront the seriousness of what they have done. No one should be enabled to simply walk away, and alcohol should not be accepted as an explanation.”

SAFE has provided community-based clinical treatment services addressing harmful sexual behaviour for nearly twenty years.

In reducing offending it is vital the community maintains very clear boundaries on unacceptable behaviour that are always adhered to, she said. Treatment also requires that people who engage in this behaviour face consequences and recognise what they had done.

Ms Dillon said that while she did not know the circumstance of this particular case, inappropriate sexual contact had not been denied. It had also been unhelpful that the man’s profession as a comedian had been referred to as a seemingly potentially mitigating factor.

“Our focus is on reducing offending and increasing the safety of children in our community. Anyone engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour with children needs to be accountable for what they do, every time, no matter who they are or what they do for a job.

“Anything less brings a serious risk of minimising its significance.

ENDS

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