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Changes in the family violence legislation take effect today

From today, 3rd of December 2018, the changes in the family violence legislation are taking effect in New Zealand. The changes are:

  1. Adding three new offences
  2. Making victim safety the primary consideration in bail decisions
  3. Making it easier for complainants to give evidence by video recording

1. There are 3 new offences:

Strangulation or Suffocation

  • Strangulation or suffocation is always serious.
  • Strangulation or suffocation is often used as a tactic to control a partner, instilling fear by showing the victim that the perpetrator has the ability to kill.  It is usually part of a pattern of escalating violent and controlling behaviour and is a sign that the victim is in danger of being killed now or in the future.
  • New law means strangulation can now be prosecuted as a family violence crime, with a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

Assault on a person in a family relationship

  • It’s not OK for anyone to hurt a person they are in a family relationship with.  Family violence can happen to anyone, not only children and partners.
  • New law means assault on a person in a family relationship is recognised as family violence and carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

Coerced Marriage or Civil Union

  • Coerced marriage or civil union is a form of family violence and it’s a crime whether the marriage occurs in New Zealand or overseas.
  • This crime carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

2. Victim Safety at Bail

  • Changes to the Bail Act 2000 prioritise the safety of the victim and family when deciding whether or not to grant bail, and on what conditions, for a defendant charged with a family violence offence.

3.Video Evidence

  •  The Family Violence Bill change makes it easier for victims of family violence to give evidence via a video recording made before the hearing.
  • The video recording must be made by a Police employee no later than two weeks after the alleged family violence incident.

For more information go to the Ministry of Justice website or call us on 07 8433810

 

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