New sexual violence court pilot welcomed
Te Ohaaki A Hine- National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH-NNEST) welcome the recent announcement from Justice Minister Amy Adams that a pilot programme regarding sexual violence cases will be trialled in the Auckland and Whangarei courts. Judge Jan Marie Doogue noted the negative impacts on victims due to the current lack of timeliness in such court proceedings and indicated that the aim of the pilot is to reduce adjournments and delays. TOAH-NNEST believes that timeliness would greatly improve the court experience for victims of sexual violence and are delighted that the pilot programme includes specialist sexual violence training for judges.
Chairperson of the TOAH-NNEST Tauiwi caucus; Maggy Tai Rakena said today “Over the course of many years trying to support children, youth and adult victims of sexual violence to navigate New Zealand’s court system, the sector has been repeatedly disappointed by the lack of understanding demonstrated by many involved in all aspects of the court system. Judges live in our communities and are affected by public misconceptions about sexual violence. It is wonderful to hear that a professional education programme will be made available to them and thereby better enable them to undertake their complex role.”
Nga Kaitiaki Mauri Kaitakawaenga Sandz Peipi of TOAH-NNEST anticipates that “the trial will provide opportunity for robust review and evaluation by all those who will utilize the court system inclusive of the specialist sexual violence sector.”
As a national network, TOAH-NNEST looks forward to working with Minister Adams and the Justice department to support better outcomes for victims of sexual violence that choose to access the Court process.