Sexual violence in New Zealand 'huge' say advocates

Advocates are questioning just how many horrific figures they need to show the Government before sexual violence is taken seriously.

The National Network of Ending Sexual Violence Together has reiterated just how major a social problem it is in this country, as Rape Awareness Week has come to a close.

It says approximately one in four girls and one in eight boys is likely to experience it before the age of 16.

The group's chair Kim McGregor says 99 per cent of offenders are not held to account because of under-reporting and low conviction rates.

"There are really very, very high levels of sexual violence in this country. It's huge, it's huge, it's absolutely huge."

Dr McGregor says a government taskforce which sat from 2007 to 2009 has come up with a solid list of recommendations, but for them to be implemented the sector needs government help and resources.

Advocates say just one per cent of sex offenders are being held to account for their actions, because of under-reporting and low conviction rates.

They say sexual violence continues to be a major social problem, and one that is taking a huge toll on New Zealand's communities.

Dr McGregor says often when people are accused they will deny it, and it will be swept under the carpet.

"Then the perpetrator goes on to abuse many other children over many, many years. That's a typical scenario and that's been happening in probably most of our communities for decades."

- Newstalk ZB

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