More breaching protection orders

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 09:00 29/03/2014

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The piece of paper designed to keep people safe from others is being ignored more frequently, with an increasing number of people being prosecuted in Manawatu for breaching protection orders.

And Woman's Refuge says there could be a higher rate of convictions, as many offenders are given multiple warnings before heading to court.

The effectiveness of the orders came into the spotlight this year in Dunedin when Edward Livingstone - who had twice breached protection orders taken out by his wife - shot his two children dead in their beds before turning the gun on himself.

Figures released to the Manawatu Standard under the Official Information Act show there are not significantly more protection orders being granted in Horowhenua and Manawatu, but more people are being prosecuted for breaking them.

In Feilding, Levin and Palmerston North courts, there were 60 convictions for breaking protection orders in the 2008/09 year.

That rose to 90 in the 2012/13 year.

During that time, the number of orders granted has stayed static, with 116 in 2008/09 compared to 117 in 2012/13.

Those figures follow the national trend, with the 1907 protection order convictions in 2012/13 up by more than 100 from 2008/09.

According to the Ministry of Justice, a breach can include unwanted telephone calls, threats, harassment, abuse and damage to property.

There have been recent examples of people in Manawatu breaching protection orders by doing nearly all of those things.

Fraser John Payne racked up his sixth and seventh convictions in the Palmerston North District Court last week for breaches against women he had been in relationships with.

The 33-year-old was sentenced to six month's jail for his offending, which involved him trying to get into the houses of two people who had orders against him.

Manawatu Women's Refuge manager Ang Jury said the rise in convictions was good, as it showed a harder line was being taken.

But the number could be higher, as most breaches were either unreported or sorted out by giving the offender a warning.

People who broke the orders in simple ways could be causing more harm than most people realised, she said.

Sending a text message could look innocent, but could carry added connotations. "In a lot of instances it means ‘I know where you are, I can contact you if I want to'."

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- Manawatu Standard

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