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The Minister of Justice, Amy Adams, announced last week that the government plans to overhaul New Zealand’s domestic violence laws.
The announcement came after domestic violence watchdog, Backbone Collective, garnered significant media attention for their work supporting female victims/survivors of domestic abuse and advocating for law reform.
The NGO reported that courts are failing to consider the individual experiences of victims/survivors, downplaying their experiences, and not placing enough focus on their safety.
Kathy Nelson, Deputy Convenor of Victoria University’s Human Ethics Committee, spoke with Salient and agreed that the law needs an overhaul. She said that the issue is wider than simply legislation.
“As people, we must recognise domestic abuse, we must claim it, and support anyone we know [who is affected by it]. We have to take action and get them safe first, and to the justice system second.”
Following Amy Adams’ announcement, the National Party changed their stance on the proposed Domestic Violence — Victims’ Protection Bill, which would give victims and survivors ten days of paid leave to help them move house, attend court hearings, and consult with lawyers.
The bill was already set to pass its first reading on March 8 with support from all other parties.
National’s change in tact came hours after New Zealand First announced its support for the legislation, giving the bill the numbers to pass without National.