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Friday, 4 July 2014

The high rate of family violence in New Zealand is unacceptable

While we have the lowest crime rate in 35 years, violent crime is not falling as fast.

About half of all homicides in New Zealand are a result of family violence, and about half of all violent offence charges in the courts relate to family violence.

Addressing our nation’s high rate of family violence is a crucial part of our commitment to deliver better public services for New Zealand families.

We want to ensure home is a safe place for all women, children, and men, and ensure victims are not re-victimised.

We’ve announced a cross-Government package to strengthen efforts across Justice, Police, Corrections, and Courts to improve the safety of family violence victims and make services more responsive to their individual needs.

We will establish a Chief Victims Advisor to advise the Minister of Justice on the needs and views of victims of crime.

We will trial an intensive case management service to provide specialist support for family violence victims at high risk of serious harm or death.

We will establish a nationwide home safety service to empower women to leave violent relationships. We will trial mobile safety alarms with GPS technology for victims so they can immediately notify Police of an emergency, and their location, and introduce legislation to allow courts to stipulate GPS monitoring on high-risk family violence offenders.

We will also explore the possibility of a conviction disclosure scheme which would allow people to ask whether their partner has a history of violence. Concerned third parties, such as parents, would also be able to request this information, so long as they have good reason to.

Our initiatives will improve awareness, support, and protection for victims, and will make them strong.

The Justice sector’s stronger response to family violence complements Associate Minister for Social Development Tariana Turia’s work to promote community-wide rejection of family violence. Minister Turia’s work builds on the recommendations the Government has accepted in whole, or in part, from the Expert Advisory Group’s report on Family Violence and will strengthen existing initiatives that are making a real impact in communities.

Together with the Government’s work around Whanau Ora and focus on vulnerable children, it will help future generations of children to grow up without family violence.