From today, 3rd of December 2018, the changes in the family violence legislation are taking effect in New Zealand. The changes are:
- Adding three new offences
- Making victim safety the primary consideration in bail decisions
- 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.
- 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