06 Sep Statement pertaining to the sentencing of David Charteris
The conviction of David Charteris in the Christchurch District Court for sexual offenses today sends a very firm message about the consequences of these abhorrent behaviours. We hope it will give other survivors of sexual abuse the courage to come forward.
The victim has shown remarkable courage in pursuing this outcome, particularly in the face of significant obstacles in reporting historic crimes. He has our enormous respect.
Regretfully, Victim Support is associated with this matter as the offender is a former employee. The offenses occurred prior to Mr Charteris’ employment with Victim Support and he was not employed in a client facing role. He ceased work immediately once charges were laid by Police.
However, Victim Support acknowledges it could have handled this situation better.
Prior to charges being laid, Victim Support received an allegation about the offending from an anonymous complaint. Victim Support acted on legal advice that anonymous allegations, without the possibility of a fair investigation, offered no grounds to act.
However, the organisation should have done more to ensure the allegations could be investigated by Police.
Since then, we have begun thoroughly reviewing our processes to prevent anything of this nature occurring again. We have tightened multiple HR policies, our code of ethics and our employment contracts. We are also enhancing our processes for reporting illicit behaviour.
It’s imperative that victims are at the centre of the justice process, and that we lead by example.