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Law Commission to undertake work to reduce family violence

July 16, 2015 at 11:10 AM

A Law Commission review is seeking to determine how best to deal with non-fatal strangling and homicide by family violence victims in order to better address family violence.

The Minister of Justice has requested that the Law Commission commence two new references in the family violence area. They are:  

• Non-fatal strangulation as a separate crime; and

• Victims of family violence who commit homicide.  

These two new references will complement the current work of the Commission in improving the court experience of victims of sexual offending.   

Peter Boshier, the lead Commissioner for the non-fatal strangulation reference, said, “the act of non-fatal strangulation is a well-known indicator of future serious family violence. A number of comparable countries have already implemented a specific crime of non-fatal strangulation. The Law Commission will review if a separate crime can be a tool to reduce future family violence.”

Wayne Mapp, the lead Commissioner for victims of family violence who commit homicide reference said, “there is a risk that New Zealand is out of step in how the criminal justice system deals with victims of family violence when they face charges of killing their abusive partners. The review will examine whether the New Zealand law requires modification.”  

The Law Commission will establish an Experts Committee to assist in the completion of these references and will consult with key groups.  The Law Commission will be reporting to the Minister of Justice by 31 March 2016 on both references. 

Terms of Reference:  Creation of a separate crime of non-fatal strangulation 

Terms of Reference:  Victims of family violence who commit homicide