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Search begins for new Chief Victims Advisor

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Establishing a Chief Victims Advisor to the Government is an important step to ensuring victims are placed at the heart of decision-making, Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced.

The inaugural role has been created to provide independent advice to the Justice Minister about victims’ experiences in the justice system and is a central part of the Government’s response to better protecting victims of family violence.

"As a conduit between victims and Ministers, this role is the first of its kind in New Zealand. It will ensure the Government gets effective and practical advice on how we can improve the system for victims of crime," says Ms Adams.

Expressions of interest are now being sought and anyone suitably qualified is encouraged to apply.

"The Chief Victims Advisor will provide Ministers with a direct line of advice and information. The role will be an independent voice that will complement other avenues of advice, such as victim advocacy groups and officials," Ms Adams says.

"I’m taking a different approach to the usual Government appointment process because I want to cast the net as widely as possible, and allow qualified advocates to have the opportunity to put up their hand for the role.

"The Government is committed to better supporting victims and ensuring their needs are acknowledged and represented at the heart of decision-making."

The Chief Victims Advisor will need to be a respected person of integrity with good understanding of, and links into, victims networks who knows how to get things done in government and can build relationships across the sector - from Ministers and government officials to community groups, and those who have first-hand experience of the trauma crime can cause.

The establishment of a Chief Victims Advisor is part of the wider Stronger Response to Family Violence package to address family violence. Other initiatives include:

- Establishing a nationwide home safety service to help victims who want to want to leave a violent relationship

- Reviewing family violence legislation to ensure the law is fit for purpose

- Trialling safety alarms for victims using the latest technology to notify Police of an emergency

- Overhauling the Evidence Act to better protect child witnesses and victims of sexual violence

- Asking the Law Commission to resume work into alternative pre-trial and trial processes

- Changes to court regulations that will allow Judges better access to information they need to make decisions to help keep victims of family violence safer.

While the part-time role will be supported by the Ministry, the Chief Victims Advisor will be accountable to the Justice Minister. The initial appointment will be for two years. The role is funded from $500,000 set aside in Budget 2015.

Applications close on Friday 3 July 2015.

More information, including the role description and how to submit an expression of interest, can be found at www.justice.govt.nz.

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