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Family violence law reform positive for Hutt families

Chris Bishop
National List MP based in Hutt South
Media statement
16 March 2017

Family violence law reform positive for Hutt families

National List MP based in Hutt South Chris Bishop has welcomed the introduction of legislation that overhauls New Zealand’s family violence laws.

“Family violence is a big problem in the Hutt Valley. It has a devastating impact on individuals and communities, and a profound impact that can span generations and lifetimes.

“The clear message from my public meeting with Minister of Justice Amy Adams in 2015 is that the Hutt Valley community is up for the challenge of combating this terrible blight on our great region. We all have a role to play, and the government is acting.

“The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill amends five Acts and makes consequential changes to over thirty pieces of law. The omnibus Bill implements the government’s Safer Sooner reforms, aimed at breaking the pattern of family violence and reducing the harm and cost inflicted on those who suffer violence and on the wider New Zealand society.

“To properly tackle family violence we need to create an effective, integrated system for addressing it. We need a system that acts early to stop perpetrators hurting their families, protects victims, and breaks the cycle of re-offending.
“These reforms will strengthen family violence laws and build the legal framework necessary to deliver the wider component of the work programme/
Key provisions of the Bill include:

• getting help to those in need without them necessarily having to go to court
• ensuring all family violence is clearly identified and risk information is properly shared
• putting the safety of victims at the heart of bail decisions
• creating three new offences of strangulation, coercion to marry and assault on a family member
• making it easier to apply for a Protection Order, allowing others to apply on a victim’s behalf, and better providing for the rights of children under Protection Orders
• making evidence gathering in family violence cases easier for Police and less traumatic for victims
• wider range of programmes able to be ordered when a Protection Order is imposed
• making offending while on a Protection Order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing
• supporting an effective system of information sharing across all those dealing with family violence
• enabling the setting of codes of practice across the sector.

“I’m proud to be part of a Government that has taken family violence seriously and stepped up to take action,” says Mr Bishop.

ENDS

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