15 Mar 2017

Govt unveils domestic violence legislation

3:55 pm on 15 March 2017

The government has introduced new legislation to overhaul the Domestic Violence Act.

29062016 Photo RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King. Amy Adams, Minister of Justice.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said the unacceptably high rate of family violence was one of New Zealand's most difficult social issues. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King;

The proposed changes include making it easier to apply for a protection order and making evidence gathering in family violence cases easier for police and less traumatic for victims

The law would create three new offences: strangulation, coercion to marry and assault on a family member.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said it was undeniable that one of the most concerning and difficult social issues facing New Zealand was its unacceptably high rate of family violence.

The changes to legislation would cost approximately $132 million over the next four years, which Ms Adams said was fully funded.

The Law Commission last year recommended making non-fatal strangulation a separate offence to assault. The commission said studies had shown that if a woman was strangled, there was a high risk of her being killed in the future by her attacker.