Monday, 1 October 2007

Media

"The reality is 15- and 16-year-olds don't suddenly become violent," Mr O'Connor said.

NZ First MP Ron Mark has drafted a bill that would lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12, and introduce tougher penalties for young offenders who commit serious crimes.

We don't need to lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12 we just need to give parents the OK to discipline and correct their children. This is years of PC gone wrong where NGOs have been telling parents not to use reasonable force to correct their children. We are seeing the results and these results will be multiplied now that Section 59 has been amended.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4220854a10.html

Police 'powerless to act' on child crims
By EMILY WATT - The Dominion Post | Monday, 1 October 2007

Children too young to be prosecuted have been implicated in more than 8500 crimes in one year, and police say they are often powerless to intervene.


Officers say there is little they can do in the cases, such as a 10- year-old who attacked classmates with a piece of timber, two 12-year-olds with 33 burglary charges, and a 13-year-old who attacked police with a baseball bat.

One Lower Hutt 13-year-old in social welfare care for sexual offences abused two-year-olds four more times while in care, with police unable to act.

Police usually rely on care and protection orders to intervene with troubled children through the Family Court, but officers say this can be difficult when many of them come from working two-parent families where Child, Youth and Family is unlikely to become involved.

Justice Ministry statistics show police apprehended 700 children aged under 10 and 7900 children aged 10 to 13 last year for crimes including violence, drugs and burglary. Property offences were the most common crimes committed..

Police say anecdotal evidence suggests young people are offending younger and more violently. By the time police are able to intervene, when the child turns 14, the behaviour is often entrenched.

Children under 14 can only be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter.

NZ First MP Ron Mark has drafted a bill that would lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12, and introduce tougher penalties for young offenders who commit serious crimes.

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft and Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro have criticised the bill.

Police say they do not want to criminalise young people, but lowering the age of criminal responsibility would allow police to intervene and offer the help they need - before they became hardened criminals.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said police also wanted the Youth Court empowered to better deal with these young people quickly and more effectively.

Lower Hutt Youth Aid Sergeant Steve O'Connor said most children who misbehaved were dealt with effectively by parents and schools. But the small group of serious or recidivist offenders were slipping through the cracks.

Some of the behaviours seen by young children were "quite frightening", including taking knives to school and assaulting other children.

Youth offending figures were "overwhelmingly under-reported", because many police simply took the children home without documenting the incident. But if young offenders were not dealt with, they would go on to further crime.

"The reality is 15- and 16-year-olds don't suddenly become violent," Mr O'Connor said.

Mr Mark said the Justice Ministry statistics were further proof the age of prosecution should be lowered. "In four years' time they will be the graduates of the failing youth justice system, and they will become the very adults that people are bleating about being in our jails."

Mr Mark's bill is being examined by a select committee.

1 comment:

Andy Moore said...

Oh, it blows your mind.

The government takes away the right of parents to adequately discipline their children.

And then they turn round and say...

What the heck, kids are so naughty, lets start prosecuting them at a younger age

Talk about Nanny state and child autonomy. It's absolutely disgusting.