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Significant milestone in victim safety

3 December 2018

Justice Minister Andrew Little and Under-Secretary Jan Logie today mark a significant milestone in the Coalition Government’s efforts to improve victim safety, hold perpetrators to account and enable an integrated family violence protection system.

“The Family Violence (Amendments) Act replaces the Domestic Violence Act and rolls out in two phases from today and July next year,” said Justice Minister Andrew Little.

“This new law marks a significant update to family violence legislation and establishes the importance and respect for victims. Three new family violence offences have been introduced: strangulation, coercion to marry, and assault on a person in a family relationship. These new offences criminalise behaviours and practices that can now be prosecuted specifically under family violence,” said Andrew Little.

“The Family Violence (Amendments) Act also amends the Bail Act so the victim and family safety is the primary consideration in bail decisions. Police and courts will have the power to impose bail conditions on defendants charged with family violence offences, where those conditions will protect the victim and family,” said Andrew Little.

“Another significant improvement taking effect is evidence via video recordings in court. The law means video recordings made by Police within two weeks can be heard in court. This change will help reduce trauma and improve the court experience for victims of family violence and will be implemented throughout the country over time,” said Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues).

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“These changes are designed to bring a much stronger focus onto the safety of victims, the roles and responsibilities of the workforce and better protect people vulnerable to specific offences, such as forced marriage,” said Jan Logie.

“We want all New Zealanders to understand family violence is unacceptable and through changes to both criminal and family law, we are working to ensure a more effective system capable of keeping victims safe and holding perpetrators to account.

“This work lays the foundations for the integrated, responsive, family violence system victims need and is aligned with the broader work of the Joint Venture on family violence and sexual violence,” said Jan Logie.

“These law changes started under the previous National government and were unanimously supported by Parliament. The commitment of every MP to these changes is a powerful signal to all New Zealanders that we are serious about eradicating family violence here,” said Andrew Little.


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