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



© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news