Families At Risk From Child Abuser Being Released

Media Release 14 March 2012
Family First NZ is concerned that a recidivist child abuser who has refused rehabilitation and has been assessed as a medium-high risk of reoffending will pose a significant risk to children and families when he is released on Saturday, and are calling for an urgent law change proposed by National last year in order to protect families.

Graeme Purvis of Dunedin was jailed for three years in 2009 for possessing, making and distributing images of child sexual abuse and rape, and attempting to sexually groom a teenage girl. Purvis will be released this week after his third term in jail for child pornography or sexual abuse-related offences since 2002.

According to the Otago Daily Times, on the first two occasions, he breached release conditions by contacting a young person when prohibited and accessing the internet. Images and personal details of girls from the Dunedin area, obtained from social networking sites, were also discovered. Some still pictures were of young children, with videos showing a range of child abuse, including the rape of children, and bestiality.

“Mr Purvis may have served his time but the Parole Board obviously still see him as an incredible risk – and families in the community should not be subjected to this level of risk,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“His resistance to offers of rehabilitation, the seriousness of the offending, the repetitive nature of his offending, and the Parole Board’s own assessment that he is medium-high risk is ample proof that the welfare of families is not being considered when releasing Mr Purvis in to the community.”

“The justice system owes it to the public that offenders are only released when the safety of families can be assured. As there is no guarantee in this case, and with the rejection of any rehabilitative work by the offender, we should not take the risk,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“This is not punishing people for crimes they haven’t committed, as previously claimed by the Greens. This is recognising that the rehabilitation necessary for serious offenders must take place before their freedom is granted.”

Family First is encouraging the Minister of Justice Judith Collins to follow up on a pre-election pledge of introducing civil detention orders whereby the court would order offenders to a civil detention centre where they would remain until the Parole Board deemed them no longer a risk to the community.

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