Secrecy No Answer To Domestic Violence
ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today predicted that New Zealand would never be able to reduce its levels of domestic violence so long as the Family Court protects perpetrators behind closed doors.
“On Radio New Zealand today, Chief Family Court Judge Peter Boshier explained that an open Family Court could impact badly on children in violent families,” Dr Newman said.
“But, by dealing with domestic violence in private, the Family Court is effectively protecting perpetrators of a particularly reprehensible act from the scrutiny of a public that has little tolerance for such a crime, and allowing false allegations to remain untested.
“The question must also be asked as to why these cases are not then referred to the District Court, so that the offenders can be brought to justice – rather than allowing domestic violence to be swept under the carpet as part of a custody and access dispute.
“The Family Court should be an open court. Those who seek to protect the court’s privacy are hindering citizens’ right to open justice,” Dr Newman said.