Crimes Act strengthened to better protect children, now in force

The Crimes Amendment Act (No 3) 2011, which strengthens provisions in the Crimes Act 1961 particularly in relation to violent and sexual offending, came into effect on 19 March 2012. 

The Act:

  • creates a new offence of failure to protect a child or vulnerable adult from the risk of death, grievous bodily harm, or sexual assault and sets a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment
  • doubles the maximum penalty for cruelty to a child from five years to 10 years' imprisonment and extends it to include vulnerable adults
  • amends the offence of sexual grooming to provide for offending that has been discovered through covert police investigation where a police officer has been posing as a young person
  • increases the maximum penalty for possession of an offensive weapon from two to three years in response to concerns about knife crime
  • amends the definition of claim of right so that the defence is only available in circumstances where the defendants believed they had a proprietary or possessory right in the property.

Updated 4 July 2012

Read Crimes Amendment Act (No.3) 2011 New Zealand Legislation online

Read Crimes Act strengthened to better protect children, Minister of Justice media release, 19/3/2012

Watch Breaking the code of silence (video), Court Report, TVNZ7, 26 March 2012

Read New legislation: Crime Amendment Act 2011, Child Matters

Read Reporting abuse of children and vulnerable adults, Citizens Advice Bureau

Read Criticism of new abuse law rejected, NZ Herald, 19/3/2012

Read Greater protection for vulnerable adults, Age Concern media release, 19/3/2012

Abeygoonesekera, H. Standing up for those who are vulnerable, NZ Lawyer, 9 March 2012, 179

Search the NZFVC library for articles on the Crimes Amendment Act (No.3) 2011