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Ministers welcome Law Commission report on suicide reporting

Ministers welcome Law Commission report on suicide reporting

Courts Minister Chester Borrows and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne have welcomed the Law Commission’s report reviewing the rules that govern how the media report on suspected suicides.

The Government asked the Law Commission to conduct the review examining this issue and to look at the role of social media in discussing suicide.

“I would like to thank the Law Commission for its thorough assessment of the law governing this very delicate subject,” says Mr Borrows.

“The Coroners Act 2006 restricts the information that can be made public about a self-inflicted death without approval from the coroner. The recent review of the Coroners Act highlighted that some aspects of the restrictions are unclear, and the Law Commission has now proposed changes to the law to improve and clarify it.”

Mr Dunne says there has been great interest in the risks and benefits of reporting suicide in the media.

“The Law Commission’s report is an important opportunity to move the debate forward in a positive way. The Commission has thoughtfully and sensitively approached both sides to this debate,” says Mr Dunne.

“They have now proposed a way forward that they believe balances the benefits that sensitive discussions of suicide can have with the risks of encouraging copy-cat behaviour. They are to be commended for finding a middle ground on such a fraught topic.”

The Government will consider the Law Commission’s recommendations and respond by September 2014.

For more information can be found on the Law Commission’s website at www.lawcom.govt.nz.

ends

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