Family Violence "a get out of jail free card" say SST
9th October 2019
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child abuse and family violence in the developed world. It is a shameful statistic we have all known for years and yet the violent harm continues; the fear, the intimidation, the terror and the scars.
Many innocent children have lost their lives to the selfish hands of a family member. Innocent partners have been abused and murdered due to intimate partner violence, but sadly the numbers continue to climb.
The Government have now admitted to Newshub that there's no evidence this shameful family violence record is improving. This statement follows a renewed push on medical professionals to identify signs of harm and abuse.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) National Spokesperson Jess McVicar says the domestic violence statistics in New Zealand are horrific and there needs to be a lot of changes within the Justice System before we will see a reduction in our family harm statistics. Jess said we need to stop accepting disenfranchisement and colonialism as an excuse for violent, domestic and sexual offending and we need to stop handing out home detention sentences for these offences.
“We have seen a huge rise in home detention sentences in the past year for domestic violence and sexual offending. Home Detention should NOT be used as a sentence for serious crimes”.
In 2018 our New Zealand Courts approved 5514 Protection Order applications and in 2018 there were 4500 cases of Protection Orders being breached.
“Unfortunately the perpetrators are often breaching their sentence conditions, bail conditions and/or protection orders. By then it is too late and sadly we have another brutal assault or even worse, a homicide case.”
“The most common theme we see is an offender doing just enough to intimidate, frighten and threaten the victim, but not ‘enough’ to be arrested or incarcerated. The victim finds the courage to speak up against that one person they believed loved them, then get told there is nothing more that can be done as the perpetrator gets a ridiculous sentence of home detention.”
SST say often the perpetrators manipulate their victims to the point where leaving is just as frightening as staying. “We have watched victims fight against overwhelming exhaustion to find what strength is left to speak up against their perpetrator.”
Jess says “Our Justice system needs to recognise the long-term effects of an offender’s actions and not re-victimise the innocent and vulnerable victim by only imposing a five month Home Detention sentence thereby allowing the perpetrator to continue intimidating and threatening the victim with intimidating behaviours.”
“There has to be a point where we Stand Up and say enough is enough! Community safety must be paramount and we must protect the innocent!”ENDS