ACT Calls For Child Abuse To Become Strike Offence

ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Leader John Boscawen today condemned the Government’s weak response to child abuse after it voted against his amendment to the Crimes Amendment (No 2) Bill to make abuse of a child a ‘strike’ offence under ACT’s ‘three strikes’ provisions in the Sentencing Act 2002.

“My Supplementary Order Paper would have amended the Crimes Amendment (No 2) Bill so that ill-treatment or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult was considered a serious violent offence or a ‘strike’ offence.  This would mean tougher penalties for child abusers,” Mr Boscawen said.

“The Bill doubles the penalty for ill-treatment of a child from 5 to 10 years.  This is a step in the right direction but it’s not enough.  By making child abuse a ‘strike’ offence my amendment would have ensured that repeat offenders would spend more time behind bars.

“Under the ‘three strikes’ regime that ACT implemented as part of its confidence and supply agreement, an offender receives a warning from the judge for their first ‘strike’ offence, the maximum court imposed sentence for their second ‘strike’ and the maximum possible sentence for their third ‘strike’ – with no possibility of parole.  The ‘three strikes’ regime deliberately escalates the penalty for repeat violent offenders.

“ACT has always campaigned to keep citizens safe and to get tough on violent crime.  If the Government had supported my amendment child abuse would have been added to the list of offences that New Zealand has zero tolerance for.  Sadly this was an opportunity missed,” Mr Boscawen said.