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Women Speak Up about Protection Order Experiences

Media statement – for immediate release 28 April 2006

Women Speak Up about Protection Order Experiences

Judge Boshier's claims that the DVA is working well to protect women have been rejected by Preventing Violence in the Home, the largest family violence service provider in New Zealand.

Preventing Violence has specific examples where women have been failed by the law.

Representatives from the agency attended the 3 day hui in Hamilton and support the statements made by other delegates since the hui.

The Auckland agency provided the following examples:

"One woman we have worked with recently made an application to the Auckland Family Court for a protection order without notice. She had suffered years of physical violence and feared that the violence was escalating and her children were in danger.

"The woman was scared of applying for an order due to her ex partner's reaction but she felt so worried about her and her children's safety she went ahead with the application.

"The application outlined serious physical abuse and psychological abuse and her children had witnessed abuse on numerous occasions. However the protection order application was put on notice by the Judge meaning that her partner was served with the application and her affidavit outlining her evidence.

"After the application and affidavit were served on him, he went to her house and was very angry with her for making the application. She was frightened and called the Police, they arrived but could not do anything except ask him to leave the property.

"Because there was no order in place the police were powerless. The women's application for protection had in fact made her more vulnerable."

Psychological abuse

"One client we worked with who had three preschool children experienced horrendous psychological and verbal abuse which was witnessed by our advocates.

"Her partner withheld money to buy food, he constantly threatened to ring immigration and withdraw his sponsorship of her application for residency, when she had settled her babies to sleep he would deliberately wake them.

"After a defended hearing in the Auckland Family Court this woman was only granted a protection order for two months.

"His abuse continued beyond the short life of the order : he stalked her and withdrew his sponsorship of her immigration application.

"From our work we know that many women will withdraw their application for a protection order if they are told their application is going on notice as they are fearful of the court process and the period between their partner being served with the order and their attendance at court.

"The DVA is recognised as a great piece of legislation and the best of its kind internationally. We believe that when administered in the spirit of its original intent this act does have the ability to legally sanction the right to safety for women and their children."


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