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Initial Road Homicide Aid Praised

Initial Road Homicide Aid Praised

Candor Trust

The Candor Trust is delighted that the Government has acknowledged the serious oversight Candor has previously highlighted of it's first victim support package having overlooked road killer victim's rights, because aberrant laws in NZ mean that most such cases aren't charged and convicted as legal homicides (though most are).

Policy addressing material victim support elsewhere universally recognizes the extra burden borne by victims of fatal crashes caused criminally not accidentally, especially by impaired drivers.

There is a moral responsibility to help innocent victims maintain dignity through ongoing traumatic journeys; the huge longitudinal study by the Federation of European Road Victims showed that negative impacts equivalent to families of other types of homicide eg raised suicide rates for 6 years.

The new provision for up to 30 trauma counselling sessions is in fitting with international norms. The sessions are to be administered by Victim Support, which is a concern as it currently has inadequate numbers of homicide specialist counsellors.

The $3,000 discretionary grant to help lessen the financial impact of their family member’s death, which may be used to cover loss of income and other general costs is a move in the right direction, although the amount is tokenistic. It's the thought that counts here, says Coordinator Rachael Ford.

Out of pocket expenses for immediate family members can be substantial including court attendance related costs (retaining lawyers if facing anything really sticky in the Coronial process), and property replacement where reparation is not ordered or paid eg for vehicles.

Ceilings on similar entitlements in State funded schemes per person vary from $15-100,000. Maryland astutely instituted a victim surcharge on traffic infringements to create a road victim fund.

Candor suggests that the $3000 discretionary grant might be increased up to a maximum of $40,000 in future, to be divided between the first 4 claimants on a pro rata base to the scale of their submitted claims ie if they go too high cumulatively their payout would be proportionate to qualifying costs submitted. This equates to no more than 7 million per year (under 10% of current traffic fines collected annually).

ENDS

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