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Government announces Victim's Rights Package


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice

Hon Matt Robson
Minister for Courts EMBARGOED UNTIL 4PM

12 June 2000


Government announces Victim's Rights Package

The Victims' Rights Package of new legislation and $7.657 million over the next four years, announced by Justice Minister Phil Goff and Courts Minister Matt Robson today, will at last give victims of crime in New Zealand a fairer deal.

The ministers made the announcement while at the Wellington District Court today.

"For too long those who have suffered at the hands of criminals have been ignored. The Coalition Government is determined to bring victims in from the cold.

“The new money comes in support of the strengthened Victims' Rights Bill which will make the recognition of victims’ rights mandatory for the first time.

"Currently there are strong feelings among many victims that mandatory name suppressions, which are supposed to protect victims of an abuser, in fact simply protect the offender from facing the shame of their offending. Under the legislation victims will be consulted over final name suppression of an offender."

The $7.657 million package comprises of:

$190,000 Vote Justice to educate victims about the rights available to them by law. ($100,000 in Year One and $30,000 in Year Two and thereafter).

$6.281 million Vote Courts to expand the Court Services for Victims programme to achieve full coverage of the country’s courts by 2001. ($1.178 million in Year One; $1.660 million in Year Two; $1.745 million in Year Three and $1.698 in Year Four and out-years).

$676,000 Vote Courts to pilot education and assistance to child victims and witnesses. This group is particularly vulnerable in the court environment. ($270,000 in Year One; $59,000 in Year Two; $249,000 in Year Three and $98,000 in Year Four and out-years).

A discretionary travel fund of $510,000 will allow Victim Support to assist victims in travelling to court. (Vote Justice, $120,000 in Year One, and $130,000 in Year Two and thereafter).

“For many victims and their families, attending the trial of the offenders is, while traumatic, a vital part of the healing process and an inability to attend because of financial pressure is a burden victims should not have to bear,” Mr Goff and Mr Robson said.

“At the court itself, services and support for victims are greatly needed. The expanded Court Services for Victims programme will help with what can be a very intimidatory and traumatic experience for victims.

"The Victims’ Rights Package delivers on the governing parties’ commitment to victims of crime and recognises 92% support in the 1999 referendum for enhancing victims' rights," the Ministers concluded.


ENDS

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