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Minister: Domestic violence risk trumps privacy

Newstalk ZB Staff ,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Aug 2015, 8:32AM
Justice Minister Amy Adams (NZME)

Minister: Domestic violence risk trumps privacy

Newstalk ZB Staff ,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Aug 2015, 8:32AM

Updated 1.18PM: The Justice Minister thinks it's time we stop hiding behind privacy laws when it comes to dealing with domestic violence.

Better information-sharing among government agencies is among measures proposed in a just released discussion document on the issue.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said it's not OK to hide behind privacy at the risk of more violence occurring.

"We've seen it time and time again in Coroner's reports into deaths."

"I think we have to have a more mature conversation and say there are things more important than privacy, such as keeping women and children safe."

"Let's get the violence to stop so kiwi families can be out there enjoying safe full lives. We want people to have confidence that help is close at hand and that it is okay to get on with the day-to-day stuff of life without fear."


Amongst proposals in a discussion document released today is that it be made mandatory for an arrest to take place when a protection order is breached.

Adams said if we're going to have a zero tolerance policy, it has to be backed up in a meaningful way.

"I think victims need to know, if they ask for help, if a protection order has been breached, then they have a right to expect the police to turn up and treat it very seriously."

Green MP Jan Logie said the review of family violence laws is welcome, constructive, and desperately needed.

"We've had successive reports and deaths over decades now, that has been telling us our current system is failing women and children."

"Change is well overdue."

Grey Power is backing the overhaul. Chair of the Law and Order National advisory group Graeme Faulkner wants the new legislation to focus in on cracking down on serious and repeat offending.

Mr Faulkner said family violence affects all groups, and he's seen it first hand as a police officer.

"We know there is some physical abuse of older people and we want to make sure that the legislation's in place to prevent that from happening so that we can be looked after better."

The Labour Party believes the review of domestic violence laws has missed an important issue.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis said today's review is long overdue and is a major step forward in addressing New Zealand's disgraceful domestic abuse record.

But he thinks it fails to address funding issues and he's highlighting problems around legal aid that he believes need to be addressed urgently.

Mr Davis said in the last two years 350 people who applied for legal aid to take out protection orders were refused it.

He said the system failed them.

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