Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Reforms to protect sexual assault victims, child witnesses

Hon Judith Collins

Minister of Justice

26 November 2013       Media Statement       

Reforms to protect sexual assault victims, child witnesses

Justice Minister Judith Collins today announced improvements to the Evidence Act that will make appearing in court less traumatic for victims of sexual violence and child witnesses.

“It’s always difficult for victims of sexual violence to come forward to bring their attacker to justice – we want to ensure that when they do come forward they know what to expect in the courtroom,” Ms Collins says. 

Among the proposed changes is a requirement that the defence in sexual violence cases gives notice before a trial begins of their intention to use evidence about a victim’s previous sexual experiences.

Ms Collins says it’s too easy in cases involving sexual violence for the defendant to ambush the victim with details of their previous sexual experiences. Currently, permission to introduce this evidence can be sought from the judge at any time during the trial. 

The Government has also approved a number of changes related to child witnesses and how they give evidence in court. Changes include giving child witnesses the automatic right to a support person in court, providing extra guidance and training for lawyers and judges dealing with child witnesses, and creating a new presumption about the way child witnesses give evidence.

“Being in court with the defendant can be difficult. These changes will make the experience of giving evidence easier for children and help ensure that their involvement in the justice system is not traumatic,” Ms Collins says.

“There will now be a presumption that child witnesses will give their main evidence through the video of their police interview.  If such a video cannot be used, child witnesses will be able to give evidence via closed-circuit TV or from behind a screen.” 

The Evidence Act was recently the subject of a comprehensive review by the Law Commission, which was released earlier this year.  The Law Commission recommended a number of amendments to the Act to ensure it is working as intended. The Government plans to accept all of these recommendations and will progress further changes to the Act to benefit victims and child witnesses.

An amendment bill bringing the changes into effect is expected to be introduced next year.

The full Law Commission report is available at www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-evidence-act-2006

Evidence_Act_QA.pdf

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Journalism’s Future In The Era Of “Alternative Facts.”

Already, the White House has made it clear that the media are the new enemy that the new President’s supporters will be encouraged to unite against. (What else can they do now they don’t have Hillary Clinton to demonise any more?)

The fantastic phrase “alternative facts” coined by Trump spinmeister Kellyanne Conway captures the media strategy in a nutshell. More>>

 

Employment: Minimum Wage To Increase To $15.75

The minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.75 an hour on 1 April 2017... The starting-out and training hourly minimum wage rates will increase from $12.20 to $12.60 per hour, remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Sit-In Occupation To Stop Niki’s Eviction

The Tāmaki Redevelopment Company hopes to issue a Possession Order for 14 Taniwha Street, Glen Innes. This will give them the ability to forcibly evict Ioela ‘Niki’ Rauti who has lived at 14 Taniwha Street for 21 years... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news