Maggie Barry: I'll help Harris victims
A wave of fresh claims by Kiwi women alleging historic sexual abuse by disgraced Australian entertainer Rolf Harris will land this week on the doorsteps of some Government departments and agencies.
National MP Maggie Barry went public last week alleging that Harris groped her during a radio interview in the mid-1980s, which prompted more than a dozen women to contact her with claims they had been subjected to far worse abuse by him.
Today she said she would start assisting the women tomorrow to contact relevant agencies and departments, including specialised victim and sexual violence services.
‘‘I’ve encouraged those who want to take it further to lay a criminal complaint with the police, which would also enable them to access support services.’’
Last week, a police spokesperson encouraged anyone with information about potential offending by Harris in New Zealand to contact police.
That information would be assessed regarding appropriate victim support and whether to share it with the British Metropolitan Police, they said.
‘‘We are aware of incidents in New Zealand involving Harris which were raised during the recent trial in London. We are seeking clarification from the Metropolitan Police about these matters, plus any other information on potential offending in New Zealand.’’
Allegations by Kiwi victims at Harris’ trial were ditched because they did not occur in the United Kingdom.
‘‘Even if prosecution is ultimately determined not to be an option in New Zealand, it is important that victims have the opportunity to have their voices heard and for their information to be used as part of any relevant justice process where possible.’’
Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police confirmed fresh claims of abuse by Harris had been made by some women but declined to comment on whether any were from New Zealand.
Harris, 84, visited New Zealand many times during his long musical and artistic career. Last week, he was sentenced to five years and nine months’ jail after being found guilty of all 12 sex offences against four girls between 1968 and 1986.
- The Dominion Post