3 News 28 Aug 2012
Justice Minister Judith Collins has announced tough new laws to combat child pornography. They include doubling the maximum sentence for having child porn and the introduction of a new offence of indecent communication with a child. When child porn laws were last updated, photos and film were easier to intercept. But with paedophiles able to send pictures digitally, Ms Collins says it’s time we caught up. “Nowadays we’re having to rely on our electronic sheriffs, we could say, in this area, but they need some extra tools and we need to change the law,” she says. Of 400 recent child porn convictions, only 30 ended in jail. But now the maximum penalty for possession is doubling to 10 years. For production or distribution it is rising to 14, and there’ll be a presumption that repeat offenders will be jailed.
Ms Collins also wants a new offence of indecent communication with a child, which includes texting, online and verbal communication. “There are some things that can be done, however the actual grooming on the internet is very difficult for the police to be able to bring a prosecution,” she says. “I think it’s really important for us to accept that this is how our people get our kids.” The police Online Child Exploitation Team says in three years they’ve saved 22 children from New Zealand and 11 overseas from situations where they were being abused.