30 Jun 2009

Changes suggested to on-the-spot domestic safety orders

8:58 am on 30 June 2009

Police could soon be allowed to issue on-the-spot protection orders against people who have not been arrested on a domestic violence-related charge.

Parliament's Justice and Electoral Select Committee has suggested the change as part of bill to strengthen protections for victims of family violence.

Under the amended bill, the police could issue a safety order requiring someone to stay away from home for up to five days, to ensure the safety of their family.

Select committee chair Chester Borrows says that would mean police could issue an order even if the person is arrested on an unrelated charge.

The National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges says the changes could make a big difference, but the police issuing the orders would need to be well-trained to ensure they protect the right person.

Chief executive Heather Henare says in some countries with similar legislation, the police have been unable to identify the primary aggressor in a situation, and women have been wrongly issued with the notices.