HDPA: Mallard's handling of Parliament rape allegation has not been good enough

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 5:31PM
Mallard's handling of the case has been "messy", writes Heather. (Photo / NZ Herald)

A staff member at Parliament has been stood down following allegations a sexual predator was working on the grounds.

Speaker Trevor Mallard has just released the information, saying the staffer is now under investigation and therefore has been stood down.

This has happened because someone has come forward to make an allegation following yesterday’s report into bullying and harassment in Parliament.

We don’t know a lot about this case, but there is one thing we know: it has been messy, it has been unbelievably messy.

How can you have a situation where Speaker Trevor Mallard goes public with the fact that there is an alleged sexual predator on the grounds, who has allegedly struck before a number of times, say that, as far as he can ascertain, the allegations amount to alleged rape.

And then say, yeah, but I can’t say anymore. Can’t be clear about whether this person still works there, can’t say who it is, can’t take it to Police because them the rules.

That’s outrageous and should never happened again.

How could women turning up to work at the Beehive today be expected to feel? Men as well, because surely every man becomes a suspect.

I understand why Trevor Mallard felt that he couldn't go to the police. That's because submitters were promised anonymity and given an assurance that their complaints would go no further or be detailed in the report.

But surely at some stage, there has to be a duty of care to other women? Surely, if you weigh it up, it's as simple as this: do you take it to Police and protect future victims from this predator, or do you keep it quiet and avoid re-traumatising women who are already this man’s alleged victims?

If I had that choice, it’d be a no-brainer. The cops would be called.

I think this throws into question the way in which Trevor Mallard has handled this. He went public with news that there was an alleged rapist on the ground if you haven't already dealt with it. How do you do that if you haven’t already handled it?

He threw his hands up in the air and said there was nothing he could do about it. That, quite frankly, is just not good enough.

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