Justice Minister Judith Collins today launched the Hutt Valley Mobile Community Office, a specially fitted-out van that will deliver justice, health and social services to the Hutt Valley.
“The Mobile Community Office ensures these important services are available to those that may otherwise not be able to access them,” Ms Collins says.
Services provided by the Mobile Office include victim support, neighbour support, immunisations, Plunket services, Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) services, ACC services, budget advisory services and probation services.
Ms Collins says it’s fantastic to see the justice sector working with support agencies on initiatives that will make a real difference in our communities.
“The Mobile Community Office is a smart way of delivering frontline services to those who need them,” Ms Collins says
“This is what Better Public Services is about. Agencies working together to make a difference for people who need their help.”
The Mobile Office is a joint collaboration between the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police, Department of Corrections, Upper Hutt City Council, Hutt City Council, ACC, Regional Public Health, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Hutt Safe City, Victim Support, Upper Hutt Community Rescue, Child Youth and Family and Mowai Ahuru O te Awakairangi.
The office is a pilot and will provide services throughout the Hutt Valley, including Wainuiomata.
Justice Minister Judith Collins today announced that money seized from drug crime will be allocated to Government agencies to directly fight crime and drug addiction.
“As part of our 2009 Methamphetamine Action Plan, we made a commitment that money taken from those who profit from drugs would be used to hit the drug trade and reduce the harm from drugs,” Ms Collins says.
“We’re sending a clear message that this Government is serious about tackling drugs, particularly methamphetamine, and the harm they cause in our communities.”
The Government has received about $8.3 million since the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act came into force in December 2009.
Key agencies such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections will now bid for funding for drug treatment projects and the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Customs Service will bid for funding for law enforcement initiatives.
Bids will be assessed by the Inter-Agency Committee on Drugs (IACD), who will then advise the government on the best programmes to fund.
Ms Collins says the Government remains committed to fighting crime and drug dependency.
“We must ensure our law enforcement agencies have the support they need to continue to break drug supply chains and tackle organised criminal groups dealing in this anti-social behaviour,” Ms Collins says.
Justice Minister Judith Collins has today announced extra support for the victims of serious crime funded by the Victims’ Offender Levy.
The $50 levy is imposed on all offenders at the point of sentencing and contributes to support services for victims of crime.
Ms Collins says it’s critical that victims get the support they need to be part of the justice process, and to help them recover and rebuild their lives.
“This Government is committed to putting victims at the heart of our justice system,” Ms Collins says.
“Over 4000 victims have received support through the Victims’ Offender Levy since it was introduced in 2009.
“I’m pleased to say returns from the offender levy will allow us to put an extra $739,000 into supporting victims of crime.”
Extra support for victims will include:
• Funding Victim Support to pilot more intensive support for homicide victims
• Introducing a Crime Scene Grant to help victims with accommodation costs where their homes or vehicles cannot be used because they are a crime scene
• Increasing discretionary funding to families of victims killed by a criminal act
• Increasing funding for the work of the national Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate
Victims of crime travelling to New Zealand from outside the Pacific to attend court hearings and support persons for parents or caregivers who are in court in place of child victims will also receive extra funding.
Ms Collins says the Government is delivering on its promise to put victims first.
“One victim of crime is still one too many – we must continue to support services that put victims first.”
Justice Minister Judith Collins will this week introduce a bill to Parliament increasing maximum penalties for child sexual abuse online and other objectionable publication offences.
Ms Collins says the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill shows the Government’s commitment to crack down on the production, trade and possession of material showing child sexual abuse online.
The Bill also includes other measures to provide greater protection for children from child sexual exploitation.
“We are targeting criminals who prey on children, either by feeding the supply or fuelling the demand for the insidious child sexual abuse market,” Ms Collins says.
“Widespread use of the internet now allows this abhorrent material to be easily viewed and shared in ways and in volumes unimagined only a decade ago. Offenders can possess collections of more than a million images of sexually exploited children.
“When offenders collect and share offensive material, it encourages those who create material featuring child sexual abuse to produce more of it, which means more children are abused.
“To help stop this cycle, we’re increasing the penalties for possession, distribution, and production of harmful material, sending a clear message that the exploitation and abuse of children will not be tolerated.
“We are also creating a new offence for indecent communication with a child (anyone under 16 years old). This reflects the fact that social networking sites, online chat programmes and communication tools such as texting have made it easier for adults with abusive intentions to communicate with children,” Ms Collins says.
The new measures include:
• increasing the maximum penalty for possession, import or export of an objectionable publication from 5 years to 10 years imprisonment
• increasing the maximum penalty for distributing or making an objectionable publication from 10 years to 14 years imprisonment
• creating a presumption of imprisonment for repeat offenders - any person convicted of a child sexual exploitation offence for a second time will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment
• making it clear in the Classification Act that possession of objectionable material includes intentionally viewing electronic material without consciously downloading or saving it
• creating a new offence of indecent communication with a child (anyone under the age of 16) which includes texting, online and verbal communication.
The Bill also reinforces the Government’s commitment to international efforts to fight child sexual abuse online. Last year, New Zealand was one of 48 countries to sign up to the Global Alliance against child sexual abuse online.
The Global Alliance aims to eliminate legal loopholes exploited by the distributors of child abuse material, strengthen efforts to grow the Interpol international database of child abuse material, and make it easier to initiate joint cross-border police investigations.
Justice Minister Judith Collins will this week introduce a bill to Parliament creating a new order to protect victims of serious violent and sexual offences.
Ms Collins said the Victims’ Orders Against Violent Offenders Bill will help reduce the likelihood of victims having unwanted contact with the serious violent and sexual offenders who have offended against them.
“There is currently a gap in the protection available to victims of serious violent and sexual crime. This Bill closes that gap and helps to ensure all victims are protected from unwanted contact with their attackers,” Ms Collins said.
The Victims’ Orders Against Violent Offenders Bill creates a new non-contact order that will:
• be available to victims of serious violent and sexual offences where the offender was sentenced to five or more years in prison for a qualifying offence.
• impose a number of conditions on an offender, including prohibiting them from contacting the victim in any way, or from entering, living or working in a particular area.
• be available to victims who don’t have a current protection order or restraining order against the person who offended against them.
“It’s unacceptable to have a situation where a victim of serious crime may have unwanted contact with their attacker. Victims can feel intimidated by an offender moving into their local area, near their home or work place.
“We want to ensure all victims can be protected. Feeling safe is important for any victim of crime, but especially those who are victims of serious violent and sexual crime,” Ms Collins says.