8 Feb 2012

Trust critical of length of prison term for abuse of child

9:34 am on 8 February 2012

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is critical of a three year prison sentence given to an man over abuse of his daughter.

Last year, the man's wife was sentenced to 7½ years in prison after pleading guilty to a number of assault, cruelty and neglect charges.

In sentencing in Auckland District Court on Tuesday, Judge Brooke Gibson said the girl's father stood by while serious injuries were inflicted on the child, aged nine.

But the Sensible Sentencing Trust says Judge Gibson could have given a far harsher penalty under government guidelines.

Spokesperson Garth McVicar says that unless lengthy prison sentences are imposed, there is no effective deterrant for people who abuse children.

Time for mandatory reporting

An Auckland lawyer says now's the time for mandatory reporting of child abuse to be implemented.

South Auckland barrister Catriona MacLennan told Morning Report that different agencies often have disjointed information about child abuse cases that does not give an accurate picture of what is really happening.

Ms MacLennan says too often recommendations are made after a high-profile case, but are never implemented.