Safer Sooner: Strengthening family violence laws

01 May 2017.

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill is being considered by Parliament.

The Bill amends the Domestic Violence Act 1995 and other legislation including the Crimes Act, to implement proposed reforms that focus on intervening earlier to prevent future violence.

The changes will strengthen civil and criminal laws, and support agencies to work together to respond to family violence. As a result, victims will be safer and perpetrators will be stopped from using violence.

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.

Full text of the bill and details about submissions are available online. The deadline for submissions is 24 May 2017.