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Comedian remains a threat to children

MEDIA RELEASE

9 September 2011

Comedian remains a threat to children: picket organised for Auckland District Court on Monday

“The comedian who admitted sexually abusing his daughter and received no conviction and no treatment remains a threat to children” says Leonie Morris, spokesperson for the Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children.

Judge Cunningham should have convicted the comedian and directed him to attend sexual offender treatment. Treatment through providers such as SAFE dramatically reduces the likelihood of reoffending.

To protest the decision, the Coalition is holding a picket outside the Auckland District Court at lunchtime on Monday from 12.30 to 1.30. Its purpose is to remind the judges and the public that sexual assault is unacceptable. Everyone who commits a sexual offence must be held accountable.

It is outrageous that the man’s profession as a comedian and his ability to 'make people laugh' contributed to Judge Cunningham’s decision.

The fact that he has got off scot-free with no legal consequences trivialises the important issue of child sexual abuse.

An Auckland study of child sexual abuse has found that
• 23.5% of Auckland women reported a history of child sexual abuse.
• The median age of victims at the time of the first sexual abuse was 9 years.
• In 50% of cases abuse occurred on multiple occasions.
• In the majority of cases perpetrators were male family members.
• Victims of child sexual abuse are twice as likely as non-victims to experience later intimate partner violence.
• The cost of child sexual abuse in New Zealand was estimated to be $2.6 billion per year.
• 91% of child sexual offences are not reported to the Police.

The outcome of this case sends the message that offenders can escape from the consequences of committing illegal and deplorable acts of sexual violence. It also demonstrates that the protection of our children is secondary to the continuation of an offender’s career.

This court decision undermines the work of the Government and the agencies who highlight that violence against girls and women is not okay and that alcohol is never an excuse for criminal behaviour.


ENDS


The Auckland Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children was developed in 2006 to strategise and work toward achieving the ultimate goal of safety for women and children in Auckland.
We have undertaken a number of innovative activities including a competition for young people to make a video for you-tube on violence against young women and a community development programme involving small businesses making a commitment to speaking out against domestic violence.

Members:
• Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP
• Auckland Women’s Centre
• Blow the Whistle on Violence
• Homeworks Trust
• Inner City Women’s Group
• Mental Health Foundation
• Mt Albert Psychological Services Ltd
• Rape Prevention Education – Whakatu Mauri
• SHINE Safer Homes in NZ Everyday
• Supportline Women’s Refuge
• Women’s Health Action Trust

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