Child killing - her mes­sage to you

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

Monique Wil­liamson is speak­ing for the na­tion’s young, a gen­er­a­tion whose lives are at risk be­cause of vi­o­lence against them, of­ten in their home.

She is also a voice for hun­dreds of thou­sands of oth­ers who’ve been shocked by the con­tin­u­ing killings, who have talked earnestly about it in the su­per­mar­ket check­out queue, at the book club or over the fence to a neigh­bour, but who per­haps have done noth­ing about the mat­ter nor about their gen­uine con­cerns.

Two facts make Monique dif­fer­ent.

At 16, year 12 at Massey High School, she is only one gen­er­a­tion older than the chil­dren who are be­ing bat­tered to death.

The sec­ond ma­jor dif­fer­ence: The pos­i­tive ways she is do­ing some­thing about the facts and her deep con­cerns.

“I re­alised that this was an on­go­ing prob­lem and de­cided to raise aware­ness and try to make a dif­fer­ence by cre­at­ing a pe­ti­tion to get peo­ple to sign.”

Now she’s set­ting up her own pub­lic meet­ing to push her cam­paign fur­ther. Her first sources are typ­i­cal – the me­dia.

So is her re­ac­tion: “I was shocked to see all the in­no­cent New Zealand chil­dren dy­ing at the hands of adults as a re­sult of ex­ten­sive child abuse.

“What was even more shock­ing was when I started re­search into the topic on the in­ter­net.

“I found out that con­victed child killers were get­ting out of prison be­fore even serv­ing their full sen­tence. In­stead they were let back onto our streets for ‘good be­hav­iour’.”

That was four months ago.

“So far I have more than 200 pe­ti­tion sig­na­tures from my fel­low school stu­dents.”

As she de­scribes them: “Kids who are go­ing to be fu­ture par­ents.”

One al­ready is. Close friends lined up in sup­port in­clude one re­cent school mate, a teenage mother who – like Monique – was hor­ri­fied that chil­dren like her baby were abused and killed by those who had a duty to care for and love them.

Oth­ers joined the cause when Monique cre­ated a web page on Bebo with more than 3000 mem­bers, 11,000 views and many mes­sages of sup­port. Teenagers at other schools across the re­gion have con­tacted her.

“This en­cour­aged me to re­alise that I am not alone. Many other New Zealan­ders think the same as me. I re­alised that it was time to take a step fur­ther to help speak out for the in­no­cent chil­dren in New Zealand who can­not speak out for them­selves.”

Now, the Monique move­ment has taken an­other ma­jor step.

“I have ar­ranged a pub­lic meet­ing on June 23 at 7.30pm at the Massey Com­mu­nity Hall, 385 Don Buck Rd.

“I have in­vited Bob McCroskie, na­tional di­rec­tor of Fam­ily First, to speak, along with the two Na­tional Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, Tau Henare and Ch­ester Bur­rows, and also Chris­tine Rankin. They have all ea­gerly ac­cepted.”

In a let­ter to this col­umn, she sums up:

“I be­lieve that this meet­ing will be a ma­jor step in let­ting the gov­ern­ment know that peo­ple like me ex­ist.

“It’s an ef­fort to raise aware­ness of the plight of count­less chil­dren suf­fer­ing at the hands of grown-ups who should know bet­ter. Th­ese chil­dren need pro­tect­ing.”

But Monique is no ju­nior bleed­ing heart.

She takes a tough line.

The pre­am­ble to her pe­ti­tion urges: • If a per­son beats their child to death they should au­to­mat­i­cally be tried for mur­der, not man­slaugh­ter • If con­victed, the sen­tence should be life in prison with no pa­role – ever • If a per­son knows a child is be­ing abused at home, does noth­ing to stop it and the child dies as a re­sult of the abuse, they should be tried for man­slaugh­ter • Re­peat abusers who have their chil­dren taken from them by CYFS for that rea­son should never be al­lowed them back. Such abusers should not be al­lowed where chil­dren are go­ing to be un­su­per­vised • Closer su­per­vi­sion of fam­i­lies al­ready known to CYFS for child abuse.

The pe­ti­tion’s ral­ly­ing cry: “We can­not stand by any longer and watch our in­no­cent an­gels be­ing taken from us.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, the Sen­si­ble Sen­tenc­ing Trust en­cour­aged her.

So has her mother, Dianne Camp­ton, who Monique lists her as “mar­ket­ing man­ager (Mum). In her other work­ing­week life she is health, safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­viser at Vec­tor.

And Monique? Well, she’s ob­vi­ously one of those many highly-mo­ti­vated and en­er­getic teenagers we nor­mally don’t hear much about. Rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics is a ma­jor in­ter­est – she is work­ing to­wards a coach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The fu­ture? She’s split be­tween a ca­reer in law or as a marine bi­ol­o­gist. A busy life. Ques­tions on Monique and her mis­sion, for in­stance, had to be fit­ted in be­fore “mar­ket­ing man­ager (Mum)” came back from the hair­dresser and they headed off – like thou­sands of oth­ers – to Satur­day af­ter­noon net­ball. They lost. Asked to de­fine what Monique’s mis­sion rep­re­sents, mar­ket­ing man­ager (Mum) summed up: “She is learn­ing her so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. She is al­ways pas­sion­ate about things she’s in­ter­ested in.”

The clue to both is ob­vi­ous: The t-shirt Monique had spe­cially printed with her mes­sage of the mo­ment: “Child abuse! No ex­cuse!”

Her pe­ti­tion will be avail­able for sign­ing at the Massey meet­ing.

If you want to help get more sig­na­tures, mar­ket­ing man­ager (Mum) is at 021-925-812.

To con­tact Pat Booth email: off­pat@snl. co.nz. All replies are open for pub­li­ca­tion un­less marked Not For Pub­li­ca­tion.

Young cam­paigner: Monique Wil­liamson.

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