Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go

Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says.

“The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and their families, have been let down badly.

“New Zealand has one of the lowest sexual crime reporting rates in the world. Only 9 per cent of sexual violence incidents are reported to police in this country and just 13 per cent of those end in a conviction.

“Evidence suggests that victims of sexual abuse have little faith in police or the courts, fearing they won’t be believed or would be blamed. There is a perception that the victim is re-victimised while the accused often goes unpunished.

“The Roast Busters case will do nothing to increase confidence in police. Whether or not a prosecution will be successful is no reason to shelve a case.

“Justice hasn’t been delivered to the victims in this instance. Women need to feel that if they approach police they will be safe and their concerns heard.

“This case doesn’t give our young women that assurance,” Kelvin Davis said.