27 May 2013

Bill to keep victims safe

6:26 pm on 27 May 2013

New legislation will be introduced in Parliament this week aimed at stopping violent and sexual offenders from living and working near their victims.

The change has been prompted by the case of Craig Crofts, who was jailed for rape in 2004 and upon his release in 2011 lived next door to his victim in Invercargill.

Police at the time had no power to force him to move away.

Justice Minister Judith Collins told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Monday the current loophole in the law is unacceptable and protection orders are not broad enough.

"Protection orders at the moment are only available if the victim is or has been in a domestic relationship with the offender and a restraining order can only be applied for when an offender is or has been harassing them. Living next door is not enough for that."

The bill would apply to offenders jailed for five or more years and impose restrictions on where a criminal lives and works after they are released.

The Government will also introduce a bill that cracks down on online child sex predators.

The legislation doubles the maximum penalty from five to 10 years' jail for possession, import or export of objectionable material.

It also raises the maximum penalty for distributing or making an objectionable publication from 10 to 14 years' imprisonment.