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Sexual Violence Group calls out for Action Plan

Tuesday 15 December, 2015

Sexual Violence Group calls out for Action Plan from Justice Report

A national network of sexual violence service agencies implores Government to develop an action plan to implement the recommendations from a recently released report into a Justice Response to victims of sexual violence.

“This report has taken four years to be published and is focussed on preventing re-victimisation. Recommendations of this kind have been heard before,” says Ms Sandz Peipi, National spokesperson for TOAH-NNEST – Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together.

“ We need something to happen now, immediately to help victims and prevent the kind of re-victimisation that can happen to them in the court process. How long will we have to wait until we see some of the key recommendations enacted in our courts?”

Ms Peipi says an action plan would show that government is ‘putting money where its mouth is’ and provide a level of accountability and timeliness to the recommendations and integrity of the report.

However TOAH-NNEST congratulated Minister Adams for identifying the importance of completing the Law Commission review after this 4 year delay, “we have appreciated the opportunity for TOAH-NNEST and our members to engage with the review and provide our specialist sexual violence voice,” says Ms Peipi.

“We also strongly recommend that government urgently consider the health of our front line services and resourcing that rather than prioritising the creation of a Sexual Violence Commission. While we agree that a Commission could definitely add value to our work, there are other actions recommended in this report that should take priority in helping to prevent revictimisation,” says Ms Peipi

Other responses TOAH-NNEST has to this report are:

1) TOAH-NNEST sees there is an absolute need to align the recommendations from the law commission review with the recent Social Services Committee Report into the funding of specialist sexual violence services. Both documents articulate clear messages and valid pathways Government can utilise to address tackling sexual violence in Aotearoa.

2) The focus shown on the need for greater research into sexual violence in this country and within Tangata Whenua are applauded

3) That committed sustainable funding is applied to the sexual violence sector as well as in the area of prevention and is broad enough to cover the diverse groups and issues we serve.

4) Specialist courts as suggested in the report might work to prevent revictimisation. However how the court would operate is not outlined. If there is a pilot court we must ensure that sexual violence sector knowledge is incorporated so that victims have a ‘say’ in what it would look like. Succession planning is also important so that when Judges retire, knowledge is passed on.

TOAH-NNEST believes the current recommedations from the Law Commission are steps in the right direction. “This report alone will not change our current landscape for victims and communities,” says Ms Peipi. “We and our members look forward to continuing our relationship with Government and hope this work is included in the Family Violence – Sexual Violence Work Program and anticipated strategy for Government response to sexual violence.”

ends

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