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Sexual Violence Legislation Bill

Public submissions are now being called for on the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill

Submissions close 11.59pm on Friday, 31 January 2020. Click here to make a submission.

What does the bill aim to achieve?

This bill aims to reduce the re-traumatisation of sexual violence victims during court proceedings. The Law Commission’s 2015 report found the judicial system is not conductive to helping victims recover from their experience and receive justice.

This bill would increase the variety of ways complainants could give evidence in court. It would improve sexual violence complainants’ experience of the court process by allowing:

• the cross examination process to be pre-recorded
• for victims to give their impact statement without the public being present
• judges to intervene if questioning is inappropriate or excessive
• judges to tell the jury about any common myths surrounding sexual violence cases

The bill would also increase access to communication assistance. Anyone who needs help understanding court proceedings or giving evidence would be able to apply for assistance.

What do I need to know before making a submission?
Here are some important points to be aware of before making your submission:
• The committee is particularly keen to hear from participants in the justice process in a way that helps the committee to get the law changes right.
• All submissions (except for secret evidence—see below) are published on the Parliament website, and submitters should not include contact details in the body of their submission.
• The committee will consider accepting anonymous submissions where submitters are sharing their own personal or sensitive experiences or information. Submitters wanting to do this should contact committee staff.
• Submitters have the option of requesting that their submission be treated as private evidence, which can include making an oral submission in private. Submitters wanting to do this should contact committee staff.
• Submitters have the option of requesting that their submission be treated as secret evidence, which is never publicly released and cannot be discussed by MPs outside the committee room. The test for secret evidence is a high one and submitters should contact committee staff to discuss this option.
• If a submission contains an allegation that may seriously damage the reputation of a person who is named or can be identified based on information in the submission, the committee must consider how to handle the submission. This can include giving the affected person a right of response. The committee is keen to hear experiences of court processes and how they need to change, and to do so in a way that is not re-traumatising to victims. It also, however, needs to balance this with the principles of natural justice. Please contact committee staff to discuss your submission if you have any concerns about this.
• Where such allegations are made in secret evidence and the committee determines that the affected person should have a right of response, the response is also received as secret evidence. This means it will remain permanently confidential.
• Please note committees cannot inquire into allegations of criminal wrong-doing against a person that can be identified, as this is the role of the courts. Please contact committee staff to discuss your submission if it may contain such an allegation.

If you have any questions about your submission or the submission process please contact the committee staff through the contact details provided on this page. You can reach committee staff at justice@parliament.govt.nz.
Tell the Justice Committee what you think
Make a submission on the bill by midnight on Friday 31 January 2020.
You can make your submission here.
For more details about the bill:
Read the full content of the bill
What’s been said in Parliament about the bill?
Follow the committee’s Facebook page for updates


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