2 Jul 2014

GPS for violent domestic offenders

4:29 pm on 2 July 2014

The Government wants to make greater use of technology to protect victims of family violence and monitor offenders, and has announced a range of measures to do so.

Prime Minister John Key on Wednesday announced a number of measures the Government believes will help reduce domestic violence.

Anne Tolley, left, Judith Collins, and Prime Minister John Key.

Anne Tolley, left, Judith Collins, and Prime Minister John Key. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Every year an average of 14 women, seven men and eight children were killed by members of their family - a rate Mr Key said was unacceptable.

The Government wants to legislate so more violent offenders are monitored by GPS technology.

It is planning a two-year trial in which 50 victims will be given GPS mobile alarms, so they can alert police to their location in an emergency.

It is also planning a review of the Domestic Violence Act and will appoint a Chief Victims Advisor to the Ministry of Justice.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said the Government would change legislation so more violent offenders were monitored by GPS technology; currently the law prevented any offenders sentenced jail for two years or less from being monitored.

"So that's why we want to change it. It gives us much more flexibility, because often some of these offenders are serving smaller sentencers but still pose a very high risk," she said.

But Labour MP Carol Beaumont said the measures were piecemeal and that more should be done on prevention.

"And frankly I'm appalled that the Independent Collective of Women's Refuges, which you would have to say is one of the lead agencies in this area, wasn't consulted or even briefed about any of the justice announcements made today," Ms Beaumont said.

"I think that's really deeply troubling and very arrogant."