Refuge support for Judge Recordon
Refuge supports not jailing wife-beaters NZ Herald
Glenda Ryan, manager of Henderson’s Viviana refuge, said local refuges supported a Waitakere pilot scheme which encourages men charged with domestic violence to plead guilty and attend anger management courses and drug and alcohol counselling.
The pilot makes men charged with domestic violence less likely to be jailed in Waitakere than in most other parts of the country apart from Manukau, where a similar pilot started in February.
Judge Philip Recordon, one of three Waitakere judges who hear domestic violence cases, told a conference in Wellington that men who beat their partners should not be jailed if their behaviour could be changed in other ways.
“The more you can do to change his behaviour the better – what’s the point of locking them up if you can avoid it?” he was reported to have asked. The text of his speech has not been released. He is reported to have said that judges should consider discharging first-time offenders without conviction in a minority of domestic violence cases “at the lower end of the scale”.
Ms Ryan said many women who were beaten by their partners wanted the violence to stop, but still wanted the relationship to continue and were not willing to send them to jail.
“In the old system a lot of the men would plead not guilty and go to a defended hearing. On the day their partner would refuse to give evidence and they would walk free,” she said.
“When there is a chance to offer help and services to those families, women are prepared to stick with their complaints on the basis that their partners will be sent to things like anger management and drug and alcohol counselling and any other personal counselling that they might need.”
JohnP comments: Although the Herald finds support for Judge Recordon from a refuge is “unexpected”, it is perhaps not so surprising when you understand that the Henderson Refuge is not aligned with the National Collective of Women’s Refuges, precisely because it dares to support grass-roots community values and initiatives rather than the radical feminist hard line.
This story raises important questions of equity – how long will men who aren’t lucky enough to live in Waitarere or Manukau be forced to tolerate the simplistic ‘one size fits all’ Domestic Violence intervention model (ie: Duluth), based on the ideological agenda of man-hating 20th century lesbians?