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Proposals to strengthen Domestic Violence Act 1995

Proposals to strengthen Domestic Violence Act 1995

Justice Minister Annette King has today released a number of proposed changes to the Domestic Violence Act 1995 and related legislation to reduce and prevent violence within domestic relationships.

A Bill is currently being drafted to incorporate the proposals, and will be introduced as soon as it is ready.

Ms King, speaking at a "Stop for NZ's Biggest Morning Tea" awareness event for Preventing Violence in the Home, announced a range of proposals that have been approved by the Cabinet to further strengthen the objectives and implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 1995, and to enhance consistency between that Act and the Care of Children Act 2004.

"A Ministry of Justice review of the Domestic Violence Act 1995 and related legislation has found that the legislation is widely supported, but three areas were identified where the Act could be strengthened," she said.

The areas relate to:

• the role of Police and enforcement of protection orders
• the role of the Courts in domestic violence matters
• further protection of children in Family Court matters.

Ms King says key proposals from the review are:

• Police issued on the spot short-term safety orders.
• Strengthening the penalty system associated with the offences relating to breach of protection orders.
• Providing victims of domestic violence with more information when the court declines applications for protection orders.
• Requiring the Family Court to scrutinise more carefully applications for discharging a protection order.
• Requiring the criminal courts to consider making a protection order on behalf of the victim.
• Improving access to programmes for respondents, protected persons and their children;
• Ensuring further consistency between the two Acts in regard to the use of lawyers for children and dealing with psychological abuse.

Ms King congratulated Preventing Violence in the Home for its initiative in encouraging New Zealanders to come together for morning tea over the next fortnight to discuss domestic violence.

"The more we talk about domestic violence, and the more we create an environment in which victims of domestic violence feel able to report what is happening to them, the more chance we have of coming to grips with this scourge on our society."

The four cabinet papers relating to the proposals have been posted today on the Ministry of Justice website,


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