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Dunedin tragedy highlights need for review


Justice Spokesperson


Women’s Affairs Spokesperson

17 January 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT

Dunedin tragedy highlights need for review

Labour is backing calls for a review of legal protection orders following the tragic deaths of three people in Dunedin.

“This heart breaking waste of lives should never have happened,” Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont said.

“It raises many questions about how we deal with family violence and shows we need to have a serious rethink on the effectiveness of protection orders.

“A review of the process should look at targeting early intervention – providing more resources and support to both parties.

“One idea worth considering is broadening the scope of police safety orders, meaning where police deem a situation to be dangerous they can initiate a protection order, thus removing the onus on the potential victim to do so.

“But we particularly need to look at how the police and courts respond to breaches of protection orders,” she said.

Labour’s Justice spokesperson, Andrew Little, said more tools may be needed by the courts and police to make protection orders more effective.

“This could include a requirement for a risk assessment of offenders on a second or subsequent breach of a protection order, something that is already done on bail applications.

“Another consideration is for District Courts to take over the issuing of protection orders from the Family Court. This would move the focus from one of conciliation to one of enforcement.”

“That a number of agencies working on the frontline have expressed concerns about our current legislation is a clear message that things aren’t working,” Carol Beaumont said.

“We need to be vigilant in this area, especially where the risks are so high, and ensure that our responses are effective in providing protection.”

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