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Domestic Violence Review Welcome

Domestic Violence Review Welcome

A review of our domestic violence law is welcome, but it must ensure perpetrators of violence seek help to be truly effective, says Youthline in response to the Ministry of Justice review of the Domestic Violence Act 1995.

Youthline National Spokesperson Stephen Bell, who has run stopping violence courses for perpetrators of domestic violence, says enforcing attendance for such programmes is a key consideration for the current review.

“The strength of the law is that people have a chance to address their issues before they end up with a criminal conviction. We need to encourage attendance of courses so people start making positive choices for themselves,” says Bell.

Other changes to the Act being considered include making courses more available for victims of violence and increasing the number of courses perpetrators of violence can attend.

“It’s important that people can get help for their underlying issues – often things like alcohol abuse also need to be addressed,” says Bell.

Also being reviewed in the Act is how young people are treated. Bell says a revised Act should better respond to the views of young people.

“Young people need to be treated with respect. They deserve legal representation in the family court to make sure their best interests are being represented.”

He says protection orders must be more flexible and responsive for the needs of young people.

Bell notes that young people tend to be underrepresented, both as victims and perpetrators, under the Domestic Violence Act.

“I don’t think that there’s no domestic violence happening amongst young people but when I ran stopping violence programmes it was mostly men over 30”

“We need to find out why young people don’t seem to find the Act relevant, and don’t seem to seek help under it,” says Bell.

ENDS

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