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Judge welcomes tighter framework for handling family violence

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Judge Peter Boshier, White Ribbon Chair, has welcomed the much tighter framework proposed for the handling of family violence cases in New Zealand. His comments come in response to the just released discussion paper on how we can improve on our appalling family violence record in New Zealand.

Judge Boshier says, "setting down guiding principles as suggested by the discussion paper would give better clarity and provide more certainty as to what should happen in domestic violence cases". At the moment, it is too unclear what the consequences will be, and many victims feel discouraged by the process.

"If there can be a clear expectation that the breach of a protection order has consequences, our societal attitudes might change for the better", he says. "We have seen clear examples where drunk drivers and disqualified drivers are routinely charged with very little exercise of discretion by authorities. And yet, when it comes to the much more evil social malaise of family violence, the consequences are far from clear.

Judge Boshier says, "there are many very good ideas in the discussion paper that are worth progressing and acting upon. The increased focus on victim safety is significant, and one way of really enhancing victim safety and better protecting children will be to routinely conduct risk assessments in family violence cases. This will provide a better understanding of the real risk victims and children may actually be facing."

Judge Boshier also believes, "that the suggestion to increase sharing of information will lead to better decision making and will further decrease risk."

"There is a clear theme in this discussion paper of promoting victim safety, and making perpetrators of family violence more accountable. White Ribbon applauds this focus" he says.

Judge Boshier also warmly welcomes the idea of providing out of court assistance to both victims and perpetrators, saying "that self-referral where there is escalating conflict and, the beginning of domestic violence, may well save a life."

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