A girl indecently assaulted by her teen neighbour has been kicked out of New Zealand after a tribunal rejected her mother's pleas for the pair to remain here on humanitarian grounds.
The six-year-old and her mother were deported to Fiji last month after the Immigration and Protection Tribunal refused their plea to stay in Auckland with the girl's father, who is a New Zealander. The couple also have two young sons who have also travelled to Fiji.
In his January decision, tribunal member Peter Fuiava said the girl was indecently assaulted by her teenaged neighbour last year, after the mother's student visa expired.
The lawyer who represented the family had told the tribunal it was vital the girl remained in New Zealand so she could receive counselling.
Fuiava wrote in his ruling that the teen charged with assaulting the girl was being dealt with via the Youth Court and had "not denied the charges".
But the family and their lawyer had not been able to provide the tribunal with any information about counselling the girl was receiving.
Fuiava added: "Neither the appellant nor her husband made any reference in their written statements to the tribunal about the impact the offending has had on their daughter. Based on the information before the tribunal, it has not been shown that the offending has affected the child in a significant way or that it has had a lasting effect on her such that it would be detrimental to her well-being that she relocate."
Fuiava rejected the mother's appeal against Immigration NZ's decision to send her and her daughter home and an official who reviewed the matter backed up his finding.
The child's parents married in Fiji in April 2008. But her father cannot sponsor his wife to remain in New Zealand because he has been married twice before.
Immigration advisor and former MP Tuariki Delamere, who is helping the family, described the decision to deport the girl and her mother as "outrageous".
"I say there is no such thing as a minor sexual assault on a female -- ever -- and especially when the victim is only 6-years-old," he said.
As well as citing the sexual assault of her daughter, the woman told the tribunal she needed to care for her husband whose mobility is limited.
He can not return to live in Fiji with his family because he cares for another child from a previous marriage.
Mr Delamere was only recently approached by the family for help and it was too late to appeal the tribunal's ruling.
Mr Delamere -- a former Immigration Minister -- is calling on current minister Michael Woodhouse, or Justice Minister Amy Adams, to intervene and seek permission from the High Court to apply to overturn the decision.
He added that the girl should be allowed back as she was entitled to residency through her father. But for the mother, there are few options left.
The girl's father said he spoke with his wife everyday over the phone since her departure last month. But the calls left him heartbroken.
"As soon as I talk to her I run out of the house," he said. "I just go for a drive or go to a friend's house and stay. I don't feel like staying at home by myself."
Ms Adams' office said it wouldn't be appropriate for her to comment and any complaints about the conduct of tribunal members should be directed to the tribunal chairman.
A statement released by Mr Woodhouse's office said: "Mr Delamare is well aware of the process that was followed and knows that an apology is neither necessary nor appropriate in these circumstances."