Justice Minister Amy Adams says a new draft Victims Code of Rights will help to ensure victims are better informed and put them at the heart of the justice system.
The draft code outlines victims’ rights, the services available to victims and their families from government agencies and other organisations, and the obligations of justice sector agencies when dealing with victims.
A Bill to better protect children from sexual exploitation passed its final reading in Parliament today with unanimous support.
Justice Minister Amy Adams says the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill sends a clear message that activities which sexually exploit children are abhorrent and will not be tolerated.
“The law changes reflect the ease with which criminals can now access, share and distribute child sexual abuse material, and address the changing ways perpetrators can communicate with children,” says Ms Adams
“The Bill increases the penalties for making, trading or possessing child exploitation material. It will work to protect children who are sadly often re-victimised by the knowledge that images of their abuse could be shared over the internet for years to come,” says Ms Adams.
The Bill also includes a new offence of ‘indecent communication with a young person’ which will apply regardless of whether perpetrators contact victims under the age of 16 online, via text messaging, verbally or by other means.
“The measures in this Bill reflect the serious nature of these crimes, and align with the Government’s pledge to protect children from sexual exploitation,” says Ms Adams.
Among the changes, the Bill:
• Increases the maximum penalties for possession, import and export of an objectionable publication from 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment. • Increases the maximum penalties for supply, distribution or making an objectionable publication from 10 to 14 years’ imprisonment. • Creates a presumption of imprisonment for those convicted of a child exploitation material offence for a second time or later time. • Clarifies that possession of objectionable electronic material includes intentionally viewing material without consciously downloading or saving it. • Establishes accident compensation cover for mental injury caused by the existing sexual grooming offence, and the Bill’s new offence of indecent communication with a young person. • Closes a gap in the law to ensure that New Zealanders who assist foreigners to commit sexual acts against children overseas, can be held liable as parties or accessories to the offence under New Zealand law.
Latest international figures on broadband speeds have reported New Zealand’s average connection speeds have increased by almost 60 per cent in the past year, said Communications Minister Amy Adams.
The Akamai State of the Internet report found that New Zealand’s average peak connection speed rose to 34.3 Mbps in the December 2014 quarter, representing a 59 per cent annual improvement – the highest increase in the Asia Pacific region.
Legislation modernising rules applying to Royal succession to the throne came into force today in New Zealand and in the 16 Realms that share the Queen as Head of State.
Justice Minister Amy Adams says the Royal Succession Act makes three specific changes to the Royal succession rules:
• the order of succession will no longer be based on gender and will allow an elder daughter to precede a younger son as heir to the throne. This rule will apply to any children in the line of succession born after 28 October 2011. • a person married to a Roman Catholic will be able to accede to the throne • seeking the Sovereign’s permission to marry, which currently applies to all members of the royal family, will be limited only to the first six in line to the throne.