The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill, which aims to reform family violence laws, has been introduced into Parliament, and will be referred to Select Committee this week.
The Bill amends the Domestic Violence Act and six other Acts. Justice Minister Amy Adams says
The omnibus Family and Whānau Violence Bill is an important part of building a new way of dealing with family violence. It implements our Safer Sooner reforms announced in September 2016 aimed at breaking the pattern of family violence and reducing the harm and cost inflicted on those who suffer violence and on the wider New Zealand society.
The accompanying Question and Answer sheet identifies key provisions of the Bill includes:
- getting help to those in need without them necessarily having to go to court
- ensuring all family violence is clearly identified and risk information is properly shared
- putting the safety of victims at the heart of bail decisions
- creating three new offences of strangulation, coercion to marry and assault on a family member
- making it easier to apply for a Protection Order, allowing others to apply on a victim’s behalf, and better providing for the rights of children under Protection Orders
- making evidence gathering in family violence cases easier for Police and less traumatic for victims
- wider range of programmes able to be ordered when a Protection Order is imposed
- making offending while on a Protection Order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing
- supporting an effective system of information sharing across all those dealing with family violence
- enabling the setting of codes of practice across the sector.
NZCCSS is currently analysing the Bill and will be consulting with members on the content of the Bill.