'Violated' teen dropped uncle complaint

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2012

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A woman allegedly sexually abused by her uncle when she was a teenager and given HIV by his friend withdrew her complaint against her uncle more than 10 years ago, police said yesterday.

Yesterday New Plymouth CIB chief, Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward said he had reviewed the sexual assault investigation after the file was retrieved from police archives.

It showed that when the woman was 16, she complained to police that her uncle sexually violated her.

But in October 2001 she told police she wanted no further action taken, Mr Coward said.

"She made a statement to police withdrawing her complaint of sexual violation," Mr Coward said.

"Whilst we sympathise with her, once the victim makes a statement of withdrawal the matter is filed, meaning the case is closed."

If the victim asked police to reopen the investigation, police would carefully consider her complaint "but the fact that 10 or more years have elapsed the matter could become problematic," Mr Coward said.

Now in her late 20s and living in North Taranaki, the woman said last week her parents did not want her and put her in her uncle's care, despite them knowing the uncle was a convicted rapist.

The woman was involved in serious offending at the time and was being dealt with through the Youth Court.

The decision for her to live with her uncle in Tauranga was made at a CYF-run family group conference.

The woman said she had caught HIV from the uncle's friend and she had passed it on to her first-born child. The uncle's friend had since died of Aids.

Mr Coward said police had no record of the teenager alleging the uncle's friend had raped her.

The woman told the Taranaki Daily News earlier this week that she believed there were "thousands" more children who had been placed in homes without criminal checks being carried out by CYF.

She believes more work should be done by CYF to tighten up their youth justice processes when placing children with caregivers.

She has declined to speak further on the advice of her lawyer.

CYF has since apologised for their role and said they have now changed their policy.

The organisation clarified yesterday that the teenager was never in their care but they were party to the family group conference through the youth justice process.

CYF spokesman said yesterday social workers were given guidance when a child was not in the care or custody of CYF and were being placed away from their parents or usual caregivers.

Social workers must now complete:

- Police checks on all household members aged 17 years and older.

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- Home visits to check the safety of the environment, sleeping arrangements and fencing.

- A meeting with the parents or usual caregivers and the proposed caregivers to discuss the placement.

- Taranaki Daily News

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