A Bill to better protect children from sexual exploitation passed its final reading in Parliament today [2 April 2015] 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.
Media Release dated 2 April 2015: Hon. Amy Adams – National MP for Selwyn.