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Leading Justice Symposium builds on vision

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice

30 April 2014 Media Statement
Leading Justice Symposium builds on vision

Justice Minister Judith Collins says feedback from New Zealand’s first Leading Justice Symposium yesterday reinforced New Zealand’s chance to lead the way with innovative justice and crime prevention measures.

The successful Leading Justice Symposium, held at Parliament, highlighted the importance of collaboration across the justice sector as a key to reducing crime, better supporting victims and speeding up court processes.

“It was encouraging to see so many participants congratulating our justice sector on their closer collaboration which is resulting in less crime and more importantly, a safer New Zealand.

“The Justice sector leads the public service in cross sector collaboration but we can always do better. Symposium participants agreed further work is needed to reduce the lengthy time of court processes and to improve the focus on the needs of victims,” says Ms Collins.

New Zealand’s crime rate is now at its lowest level since 1978 and this creates an opportunity for greater focus on new measures to tackle the more persistent types of crime and improve our justice system.

“We have the potential to lead justice innovation internationally and investigate bold policies to prevent crime and victimisation, while also providing better services for victims.”

In particular, the symposium confirmed the opportunity to substantially address domestic and sexual violence – crimes that are globally persistent.

“It’s a sad and shocking situation when only 6 per cent of people experience 54 per cent of New Zealand’s crime,” Ms Collins says.

“Too often it is women and children who are repeat victims of family and sexual violence. We need to encourage these women and children to be comfortable coming forward to report domestic and sexual violence while developing new ways to respond to, and deter, these crimes.

“I’m absolutely committed to taking action in this space to ensure far less New Zealanders become victims and to stop the needless cycle of revictimisation.”

The Ministry of Justice is working with the Justice sector and other government agencies on a range of initiatives to modernise our courts and in particular to make a real and sustainable impact on domestic and sexual violence.

“I thank everyone who attended and contributed to this successful symposium. I particularly acknowledge the panellists and especially our overseas visitors for their fantastic input.”

ENDS

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