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Member's bill drawn from ballot proposes to amend Sentencing Act

July 20, 2017 at 3:01 PM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta's member's bill, Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill, was drawn from the ballot recently and will be considered by Parliament.

The Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill proposes to amend section 9 of the Sentencing Act 2002 by adding domestic violence as aggravating factor. This would allow judges to consider history of domestic violence when making decisions about sentencing in court.

Waatea news reported that Nanaia Mahuta said "If someone came up before the Family Court for sentencing and had a history of domestic violence of related types of incidence, that wouldn't be apparent to the judge when they made their sentencing. There were always the prospect of this type of situation and this is an attempt to stop that." Listen to the full interview.

The bill was originally introduced to the Member's Bill Ballot by Labour MP Sue Moroney in 2013. The bill is now waiting to be read in Parliament.

Related information

Earlier in 2017, the Government introduced the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill. The bill proposes amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 1995 and six other Acts, including the Sentencing Act 2002. The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill proposes to amend section 9 of the Sentencing Act by adding the following as an aggravating factor:

(ca) that the offence was a family violence offence (as defined in section 123A) committed—
(i) while the offender was subject to a protection order (as defined in section 2 of the Family and Whānau Violence Act 1995, or that was made under section 123B of this Act); and
(ii) against a person who, in relation to the protection order, was a protected person (as so defined)

Submissions on th Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill have closed and the bill is now being considered by Select Committee.

Separately, in 2015, the Government launched a pilot programme to give judges a defendant's family violence history when making bail decisions. In May 2016, the pilot was extended to Wellington, Wairarapa and Northland.

Category: Policy and Legislation