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Pleased Nats continues sexual violence law work

Hon Lianne Dalziel

Justice Spokesperson


24 July 2009 Media Statement


Labour pleased National continues work on reform of sexual violence laws

Labour is welcoming the Government’s plans to continue working to reform sexual violence legislation in New Zealand, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Lianne Dalziel.

Justice Minister Simon Power announced yesterday he planned to consider potentially far-reaching reforms, which were proposed in a discussion document ‘Improvements to Sexual Violence Legislation in New Zealand’ released in August last year by then Justice Minister Annette King.

”The document sought public submissions on law changes to improve the criminal justice response to sexual offending. The submissions must have been overwhelmingly in support of change for Mr Power to have thrown his weight so firmly behind the proposals,” says Lianne Dalziel.

“The issues are complex but I believe the proposed changes would go some way to improving the way the courts deal with this type of crime – in particular the way victims are treated through the process.

“It is also pleasing Mr Power has taken up proposals from the discussion document to consider revisiting the current inquisitorial system used by the courts for investigating sexual violence cases.

“There has long been public disquiet about the operation of the current system and I believe we can and should do better,” says Lianne Dalziel.

The discussion paper identified the same options being investigated by Mr Power

• Whether the law of consent should be changed by adding a definition of what consent is.

• Whether the court should be required to take into account any steps the defendant took to discover whether the complainant was consenting when a defence of reasonable belief in consent is raised

• Whether the law that protects complainants from being questioned about their sexual history should be extended to questions about their sexual history with the defendant.

The discussion document: http://www.justice.govt.nz/discussion/sexual-violence-legislation.

ENDS

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