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escalating violence in our community
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Sensible Sentencing Trust
This was sent out for publication on the 27th December 2003 in Hawkes Bay Today
Does anybody remember Elvis Presley's hit song "In the Ghetto"? As I was reading the news the other day the following headlines grabbed my attention: "Stabbed Girls Failed by System", "Reports Point Finger at CYFS" and "CYFS Admits it Failed Dead Girls". As I read I couldn't help but think of the words to Elvis's song : "A poor little baby child is born, and his mother cries, if there is one thing that she don't need, it's another little hungry mouth to feed".
The Sensible Sentencing Trust has a file on the hundreds of children that are sexually abused, violently beaten or horrifically murdered, I get angrier every time we add another name to this ever-increasing list. What a pathetic nation of Politically Correct do-gooders we have become when we allow a child's death to be blamed on CYFS, a government department that shouldn't even exist.
It amazes me that every time another child is murdered or maimed by some low life normally living in a de-facto relationship with the mother, we blame CYFS, the social worker, the police or all three! Excuses, excuses, and more excuses. Every time there is another killing politicians jump on the bandwagon, do-gooders (not to be mistaken for those who do good) rant and rave, but nobody places the blame where it actually belongs - with the two individuals who created the child.
Our child abuse statistics are a disgrace; in a recent UNICEF study NZ is now 23rd out of 27 of the so-called wealthy nations!
When James Whakaruru was brutally murdered in April 1999, Social Services Minister Steve Maharey said he was determined that we would learn the lessons from little James tragic death. Yeah Right! A mere four years later and after many more children have been sexually abused, violently beaten or horrifically murdered we hear the same hollow words yet again as politicians promise in vote catching, patronising agony that we must learn the lessons from little Coral Burrows tragic death.
Angry? You bet I am, but until YOU get angry we will not change the direction this country is going. New Zealand is now one of the most violent countries in the western world, if we are going to allow government to implement legislation that refuses to hold individuals accountable and responsible for their actions, then I'm sorry but we have the country we deserve.
Legislation introduced recently instructs Judges to impose the LEAST restrictive sentence appropriate and the Judge MUST now consider the criminal's personal, family, whanau, community and cultural background.
We saw this legislation in action recently when Judge Eddie Durrie sentenced Warrick Reuben Kershaw, for the brutal killing of little Anahera Ross-Lewis. Anahera apparently wouldn't go to sleep and was crying, so Kershaw burnt her hand on a hot heater. The little girl continued to cry (obviously) so he beat her. She died in Hospital. Judge Durrie allowed submissions from Kershaw's whanau including an elder from his tribe.
For the brutal beating and killing of little Anahera Ross-Lewis Judge Eddie Durrie sentenced Kershaw to three (3) years jail. Under this pathetic new legislation he will be eligible for Parole after 12 months.
New Zealand didn't have Ghettoes when I was growing up, and a crime was a crime no matter what cultural background you were from. Re-offending was 12% then, it is now 85%.
Learn we must!
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