New Zealand has the highest rate of reported intimate partner violence in the developed world, nearly half of all murders, and reported violent crimes are domestic.
Submissions on the bill can be made here until Wednesday 24 May.
In 2015 Police responded to more than 110,000 family violence incidents and issued nearly 14,000 Police Safety Orders. Against this backdrop the Whanau and Family Violence Legislation Bill was introduced the Parliament on Tuesday April 11th.
In introducing the bill its responsible minister Amy Adams said " Growing up with family violence is a major risk factor for our children and young people. We know that exposure to this abhorrent form of abuse has severe, long-lasting effects, including mental illness, substance abuse, offending, self-harm, and homelessness. It is time that this insidious intergenerational cycle ends."
It is an omnibus bill that will amend six different Acts of Parliament including the Domestic Violence Act 1995, the Crimes Act 1961, the Sentencing Act 2002, the Evidence Act 2006.
Intended outcomes include new specific offences - non-fatal strangulation, and coercion to marry; an allowance of video evidence, for NGO’s or the Police to apply for protection orders on behalf of victims, and the treatment of violence in contravention of a protection order as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
The Bill passed its first reading with broad acceptance in the House, though opposition MPs noted areas they particularly want to work further on in Select Committee where the House now sends the Bill to be further considered.
Talking about the Select Committee process, Labour MP, Poto Williams said, "We take the opportunity to craft a piece of legislation that actually will, at the end of the day, keep our family and whānau safe. We in Labour are supporting this bill. We hope that the select committee process will add some real meat to the legislation."
- The Bill itself can be read here.
- Ministry of Justice background to the bill.
- A summary of submissions to the Ministry of Justice consultation on family violence.
Background information, kindly provided by the Parliamentary Library.