National accuses Govt of cutting child sex abuse staff

The AM Show 17/05/2018

The National Party has accused Internal Affairs of cutting the number of staff who investigate child sex abuse material

National MP Amy Adams told The AM Show they are slashing the staff by one-third.

But the Government department says it's actually almost doubling the size of its team so it can beef up prevention.

"They're going to be going from 15 fully trained investigators down to 10," Ms Adams said.

"They're saying 'we're going to have educators and support staff', but it's investigators that you need. They're the ones that work with victims, they're one the ones that get these images online [taken down], and cutting that by a third to me seems crazy."

She said Internal Affairs is being starved of funding, so is "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

"It speaks to the priorities [of this Government]."

But Internal Affairs says it's actually increasing the number of staff in the team from 15 full-time equivalents to 27.5, and there was no cut in funding at all - it was actually getting a boost.

"The department realises that it needs more than just investigators to deal with harm in the digital environment," a spokesperson said.

"While investigations will continue to play an important role, new preventative approaches are needed to address online child exploitation imagery."

Ms Adams also said the so-called cuts would leave the entire South Island without a female investigator.

"If you're going to talk to a six-year-old girl who has been sexually exploited online, best practice is you send a very trained woman to talk with her and the family," Ms Adams told NZME.

Internal Affairs said this wasn't true - there is one in Christchurch.

Watch the full interview with Amy Adams above. 

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