Concerns about victims of sexual violence in justice system
Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues)
8 March 2018
Under-Secretary acknowledges concerns about victims of sexual violence in the criminal justice system #togetherinblack
Concerns raised by a collective of sexual violence support agencies under the banner #togetherinblack are a timely reminder of the need to improve the criminal justice system to be more sensitive to the needs of victims of sexual violence.
“It is appropriate that family violence and sexual violence issues are in the spotlight on International Women’s Day and I welcome the focus these groups have placed on the experience of victims of sexual violence who proceed through the courts,” said the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence issues, Jan Logie MP.
“I acknowledge the low rates of reporting of sexual violence, high rates of attrition, and the secondary victimisation that has occurred in the system. I also note the concern that many offenders are not being held to account or offered the support to address their behaviour.
“It has long been known that improvements to the system are required and I am committed to making change. The criminal justice system should not be compounding the harm already suffered by survivors of sexual violence.
“There is some promising work underway, including Sexual Violence Courts being run by the Chief District Court Judge in the Auckland and Whangarei Courts. The Solicitor-General is developing prosecution guidelines so prosecutors are aware of best practice. The Ministry of Justice is developing awareness training for court staff so they can better meet the needs of sexual violence victims when they are at court.
“Work is also underway to develop an online guide for victims and their supporters so they have information about what to expect in the criminal justice system.
“In the next few months I anticipate engaging with sexual violence services and the legal profession as I develop proposals for reform in response to the 2015 Law Commission report on the Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence. I am confident that we can make progress on these important issues and look forward to working with relevant agencies to do so,” said Ms Logie.