Collins toughens child porn laws

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.