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Dalziel urges action on domestic violence

Hon Lianne Dalziel MP
Spokesperson for Justice

18 December 2008 Media Statement

Dalziel urges action on domestic violence

Labour’s Justice spokesperson, Lianne Dalziel, has welcomed the introduction of the Domestic Violence (Enhancing Safety) Bill, which introduces on-the-spot Police orders to provide immediate protection where violence has occurred, however has expressed concern that further measures are required to make the proposals effective.

“I was very disappointed that the National government refused leave to allow the other government bill on the order paper (introduced by the Hon Annette King) to be referred to the Select Committee so that submissions could be heard on all the matters that have been raised,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel said that the Bill had been introduced in this form simply to meet the so-called “100 days of action” requirement.

“I have no difficulty with a new government setting out an agenda such as this one has, but I am deeply frustrated when I see significant work being cast aside for nothing more than political expediency,” said Lianne Dalziel.

Lianne Dalziel said that the previous Labour-led government had issued a comprehensive discussion document that had led to the introduction of the Domestic Violence Law Reform Bill, which has been left on the order paper awaiting its first reading.

“I am concerned that all the submitters on this discussion paper, coupled with those who let their stories be told in the report on women’s experience of protection orders, will be disappointed that their issues have not been fully addressed by this Bill.”

“However, I am pleased that the government is pursuing the concept of on-the-spot police safety orders.”

Lianne Dalziel said that she had been persuaded to support the concept of police safety orders after visiting the Tasmanian Safe at Home programme, where police were responsible for providing immediate intervention to secure victim safety, manage the risk of repeated or escalated violence and to undertake risk assessments and safety audits. Specialist Police Victim Safety Response Teams provided follow-up contact and support to victims.

“This required a commitment to specialised training for the police and a culture change across government agencies, which is why I am concerned that the Domestic Violence (Enhancing Safety) Bill does not go far enough,” said Lianne Dalziel.

“That is why I have called on the government to learn the lessons of the past – it is a multi-faceted challenge to take on the scourge of domestic violence and I am disappointed that only the part of the comprehensive reform bill that made it into National’s election policy is being addressed in this Bill”.


Additional Provisions of Domestic Violence Reform Bill

It changed the definition of a child from a person under the age of 17 years to a person under the age of 18 years to align the age in the DV Act with that in the Care of Children Act and also with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). This proposal had flow-on effects throughout the legislation, e.g. it increased the age at which minors can apply for protection orders in their own right;

It empowered the court to make interim care or contact orders to protect the welfare and best interests of the child in cases where an applicant with a child applied for a protection order;

It required the judge declining a “without notice” application for a protection order to provide written reasons for declining the application, enabling the applicant to decide whether to proceed on notice;

It made provision for applicants to be able to attend information sessions which would provide information about making effective use of protections orders and providing advice on social assistance that may be available;

It provided the court with the power to direct attendance at an addiction treatment programme;

It amended the Care of Children Act to extend the definition of violence to include psychological abuse and extended coverage beyond when allegations of violence are made, to any case where a current protection order is in force against one of the parties for the protection of the child or the other party.

It amended The Hague Convention provisions (in the Care of Children Act) that were proposed in response to a recent court decision ordering the removal of a child from New Zealand, even though considerable time had lapsed since the original order had been made; the court having noted the absence of a mechanism to discharge a section 105 order.


ENDS

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