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Law Commission work on sexual violence trial process reforms to resume

December 04, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process.

The Law Commission will pick up its work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court. The work was initiated in 2009, began in 2011 and was stopped by previous Justice Minister Judith Collins in 2012.

The move was welcomed by advocatesVictoria University researcher Associate Professor Elisabeth McDonald, the Green Party, the Labour Party,Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue andcommunity activists.

Ms Adams said she has asked the Law Commission to undertake this work as a "top priority." She said, "Victims of sexual offences have been through a harrowing ordeal. It is never going to be easy for them to re-live such events and be questioned about what happened. However, we need to do all we can to ensure that the process doesn’t needlessly re-victimise them."

She ruled out any proposals that would see the burden of proof fall on the defendant.

The announcement comes a month after Police announced no charges would be laid against the West Auckland "Roast Busters" group. Thirty two young women were identified who were believed to have been victims of sexual offending, however most refused to make formal statements to the Police.

 

Link to the NZFVC Website