New Zealand First social services spokesperson Bill Gudgeon has called for a review of protection order provisions and police responses to domestic incidents under the Domestic Violence Act.
“Domestic violence is a major problem for New Zealand women. It has been blamed for up to 27 deaths each year,” Mr Gudgeon said.
“Evidence suggests that the Domestic Violence Act has lost its effectiveness since it was introduced nine years ago because women are losing faith in the protection provisions that it offers.
“Women are being discouraged by court delays and the failure of the authorities, the courts and the police to enforce the law. Because of this, they are resorting to informal agreements which can’t be enforced by police who appear to have different interpretations of the Act anyway.
“This results in even further violence.
“The legislation should be amended to ensure that greater protection is given to victims of domestic violence, and that anyone who breaches a protection order is automatically arrested.
“More robust enforcement provisions and the need for greater collaboration between Police, Child Youth and Family, Courts, Women’s Refuge and Stopping Violence services are issues that should be considered in the review,” Mr Gudgeon concluded.