The Sensible Sentencing Group Trust (SSGT) is a charitable trust with the specific purpose of supporting victims of serious violent and/or sexual crime and homicide. We serve to educate the public as to the plight of these victims and to ensure such victims and their families are fully aware of their rights and entitlements, providing both education and practical support during their time of trauma. All charitable donations received by this trust fund our volunteers to assist with such things as educating these victims regarding their rights and entitlements, emotional and practical support during pre-trial court hearings, criminal justice trials and parole board hearings.
Six years ago, my mum was brutally murdered. She was a 66-year-old dedicated new entrant teacher who was setting up her class for the new school term when Whetu Te Hiko walked in and gave her a disgusting beating that can only be described as horrific. He had five previous convictions and had not long been out of prison for a violent crime against his own partner when he attacked Mum. I will never understand why he was allowed to graze and mingle with people in society. The system that is supposed to keep us safe is offender based, but the committed team at Sensible Sentencing are giving victims a voice with their continued lobbying for change and more accountability. I ask that the New Zealand public unite in the fight for the rights of victims and support the only true voice we have, the Sensible Sentencing Group Trust.
– KEVIN MCNEIL Son of Lois Dear
My husband, Gil and I became volunteers for the Sensible Sentencing Group Trust after we lost Sophie. To lose our daughter in such a horrendous way and then have to deal with what became a very public murder trial was almost unbearable. Garth and the team stood by us throughout the entire 18 months that it took to get the justice Sophie deserved, and now we’re standing behind them in their efforts to make New Zealand a safer place. Our gift to Soph is the Sophie Elliott Trust and the work we do with SSGT. By raising awareness to the signs of abuse we hope to save other parents, families and friends from going through what we have been through, then her death won’t have been in vain.
– LESLEY ELLIOTT Mother of Sophie Elliott
Nothing can prepare you for the loss of your child. My worst nightmare became reality when Michael was beaten, robbed and left to die alone in the street. The Sensible Sentencing Group Trust helped me through the grief, through his perpetrators’ long, emotionally taxing trials, through the financial burden that comes with legal support and through the fight for change. Michael’s perpetrators were eligible for parole before they had finished their sentence. My son’s death took its toll on us emotionally and physically, and it affected our family’s relationships. It doesn’t make sense that offenders’ rights should come before their victims’, and with Sensible Sentencing Group Trust we’re doing everything we can to change that.
– RITA CROSKERY Mother of Michael Choy