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Protection orders ‘leaving women open to abuse’

Filed under: General — UF @ 3:13 pm Mon 27th August 2007

University Of Waikato Calls For Sweeping Changes To Protect Women From Domestic Violence

Press Release by Waikato University at 2:50 pm, 27 Aug 2007

University of Waikato researchers into domestic violence have called for sweeping changes in the treatment of battered women by the courts and government agencies coupled with amendments to the laws designed to protect them and their children.

Their report, “Living at the Cutting Edge Women’s Experiences of Protection Orders”, highlights serious failings in the way in which battered women are treated by the courts, the police, Child Youth and Family, immigration and other agencies. It makes a total of 46 recommendations.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and released today (August 27), the report says the Domestic Violence Act 1995 has failed to realise its promise because of serious inadequacies in its implementation by the judiciary.

“This is particularly evident in the decisions of certain Family Court judges who have, for example, failed to carry out the risk assessment mandated by section 61 of the Care of Children Act, 2004, or who have added an extra ‘gloss’ to the criteria for granting without notice protection orders to impose a higher threshold than Parliament intended.

“Such decision makers need to implement the law as it is written, not as they wish it were written. In many ways, our most important message is enforce the law.”

The two-year research project was headed by Associate Professor Ruth Busch, School of Law, and Dr Neville Robertson, Senior Lecturer in psychology, whose work 15 years ago resulted in the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act and sections 58 through to 61 of the Care of Children Act.

Their findings are based on 43 case studies of Pakeha, Maori and Pasifika women, and women from other ethnic minority backgrounds, and information from a wide range of other sources, including decisions of the Family Court, criminal courts, Residence Review Board, social agencies and social science and legal research into domestic violence.

Most of the 43 case studies are recent, some still ongoing. A few cases are more than two years old and where there have been legislative or practice changes in the meantime, these are discussed in the report.

Associate Professor Busch says as a law professor she believed the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 1995 would have led to better protection for battered women. “The law is basically sound but we are still seeing judgments which tacitly collude with batterers’ interests and expose women and their children to the risk of further abuse.”

Of particular concern, she says, is the handling of without notice applications for protection orders which are put before a duty judge who, typically “considers them during a tea break or after other court business has been completed for the day”.

Associate Professor Busch says some judges give no reasons for declining an application for a temporary protection order or putting the application on notice (where the respondent is notified and a defended hearing scheduled some time in the future, usually at least 3 months in the future).

“These applications are considered ‘on the papers’ with neither the woman nor her lawyer present. While this may be administratively efficient, applicants are denied natural justice through current practice,” she said.

“Like anyone else who seeks a court decision, an applicant has the right to know why her application has not been granted. It needs to be remembered that these applications for temporary protection orders are the most dangerous ones that the Family Court will decide; getting the decision wrong through the use of a summary tick box approach places women and their children at risk of further, perhaps even more serious violence.

For non-resident women whose abusers were also the sponsors of their application for residence, applying for a protection order was generally not an option because the threat of their removal from New Zealand and the possibility of permanent separation from their children posed serious barriers to made calling the police or obtaining a protection order.

“This is one of the biggest problems for this group of battered women. Migrant women are often dependent on the sponsorship of an abusive partner when applying for residence. He is able to unilaterally withdraw that sponsorship and at the same time obtain a court order to stop their children being removed from the country.

“Without his sponsorship, the battered immigrant woman becomes an over-stayer and can be deported but her children cannot leave with her. That is exactly what happened in one of our case studies. It’s a double whammy,” says Associate Professor Busch.

Dr Robertson says the research is a serious indictment of the way in which New Zealand treats victims of domestic violence.

“It takes two children to be mauled by dogs and the law is changed. How many women and children will have to die before we address adequately the issue of domestic violence in our country? Our child abuse and homicide record is the third worst in the OECD.”

Dr Robertson says the court’s preference for mediation and conciliation processes in resolving parental conflicts – despite a strong social science consensus that these processes are inappropriate in cases of domestic violence – meant that some women were bullied into accepting unsafe or unnecessarily burdensome parenting and or contact arrangements.

“It’s madness to suggest that someone who beats up the mother of his child can also be a ‘good dad’. As the English Court of Appeal has made clear, it’s a total failure of parenting and it may be in the best interests of the child to have only supervised contact with that parent.

“The courts should not allow unsupervised access to a child without a specialist report that the child will be physically, sexually and psychologically safe during those contact arrangements and no-one should be required to attend counselling if the abusive partner is present.”

The report highlighted a number of barriers to women making an application for a protection order including lack of information; fear of the abuser’s payback, poverty, shame and, in some cases, community condemnation. Cost was a significant barrier to women ineligible for legal aid.

The researchers said they could find no compelling legal reasons for the barrier for obtaining temporary protection orders being raised and current judicial practice seemed to run counter to the object of the Domestic Violence Act.

While getting a protection order was a psychological boost for most women, any relief was in the majority of cases short-lived. The report said most women experienced multiple and repetitive breaches of their orders and, in some cases, respondents embarked on sustained campaigns of stalking and harassment designed to threaten and intimidate them.

“Seldom were men subject to any meaningful consequences for such breaches Women in our case studies often experienced a quite inadequate response from the police when they reported breaches of their protection order. Overall, police enforcement of protection orders was inconsistent. In many respects, whether a woman received an effective response or not depended on the luck of the draw.”

Inadequate enforcement of protection orders extended to the criminal courts. Few men who breached their orders were ever convicted of such offences and even fewer received a meaningful sentence.

In one case, a man who beat up his partner in front of the children – at one stage he held a knife at his daughter’s throat – was able to plea bargain to get some of the charges dropped. He was sentenced to 180 hours community service and now has regular contact with the children who were witnesses to the assault.

“Overall, the experience of the women in our case studies tended to confirm what many key informants told us: despite the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act and sections (58-61) of the Care of Children Act, ongoing contact with an abusive father trumps safety for women and children,” concluded the report.

The full report, “Living at the Cutting Edge Women’s Experiences of Protection Orders”, can be accessed on the University of Waikato’s website from 2.30pm, Monday, August 27 at:


  1. Labour is in trouble again. Time to bring up “Domestic Violence” again.

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  2. Could you imagine a report from Waikato University. Mens experience of protection orders. Research shows….(classified not to be released)

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 4:25 pm

  3. Could you imagine a report from Waikato University. The effect on children from the use of protection orders. Research shows….(classified not to be released)

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 4:28 pm

  4. I would not expect any less from Neville robertson and his cohort. Robertson is well & truely in the pay of the Fems. His work does not stand peer review.. Note the emotive terms throughout. The report to me is a product of a government ministry attempting to justify its existance.

    Comment by Alastair — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  5. stage left – enter womens refuge The next campaign. Link

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  6. That represents about 18 per year. It appears to beggarthe immagination?

    Comment by Alastair — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 6:11 pm

  7. OMG, how the hell do you make mainstream on 43 cases. These guys and girls are sick. And scoop is pathetic to put this research forward.

    Their findings are based on 43 case studies of Pakeha, Maori and Pasifika women, and women from other ethnic minority backgrounds

    Comment by julie — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 6:36 pm

  8. This is what I wrote to them.

    How do you make public research on 43 cases? You should come and talk to me. I work with single parents every day and I can tell you that NZ has a huge amount of women cashing in on Women’s refuge allowing them to get citizenship through stating abuse. If they can’t get the citizenship through immigration because it has gotten tougher; they know they can get it through women’s refuge. We are continuously helping the victims which are the men offering to marry these women under money arrangements to get citizenship. We are trying to help New Zealanders while you are trying to make it almost impossible. Talk to WINZ workers, please, please, please. These women have already got the word before they come here that we will do everything for them and when WINZ doesn’t, they throw a hissy fit. Even the refuges for women that are immigrants know that these women just DEMAND it all. The word overseas is that NZ is an easy target and you can sit on your ass and get a housing corp home and a benefit plus free childcare. Talk to the Housing Corp staff. They have to give these women a home within 3 months while NZ women have to wait more than 4 years. Please reach out to the other side. people like you make a joke of this country and you lock up innocent naive men. 43 cases is an outrage.

    Comment by julie — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 6:51 pm

  9. neville robertson is a just a feminazi sycophant on the liarbour payroll . He is a twisted nutbar , a hen picked ,pussified eunuch who is a parasitic leach !!

    NZ has spent a couple million $$ doing me over and now my daughter tells me all about the horrific damage that six sets of false protection orders have done to her .I told a family court judge last week that I am livid and heads are going to roll. I said your court is criminally culpable and six years of heartbreak , what for , no -one answered me and I walked out !!! I am so angry with the Family Court words can not describe my feelings !!!

    Comment by dad4justice — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  10. I told the prime minister helen clark of my concerns about the false protection orders in march 2002 .

    Comment by dad4justice — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  11. Dad4justice,
    You are not a greedy man, for that I am sure. But …. these universities charge $400 an hour for this research and most of it gets tossed in the bin.

    You know, one feminist told me that her friend was given $750,000 dollars to research something that was pointless.

    Where the hell is the money going?

    Comment by julie — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 9:09 pm

  12. Actually, just to add,

    I have a friend and like most people she is offered free education under liberal rule for working for the feminist way. It doesn’t matter if you study frogs as long as you are studying. lol And it is paid for by the state who will up your wages as you have more certificates. She can now charge herself at $10,000 plus a day to speak to a group. She worked really hard to get to this position. Sadly for her, her research doesn’t yet tell them what they want to hear. I feel sorry for her because she is between a rock and a hard place. She says that the statistics coming into the media are wrong but now she has to choose between herself and her conscience.

    I am forever, now adays grateful to be a nobody.

    Comment by julie — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  13. The government toss feminazi influenced academics tons of cash. These learned cockamamies play the game and don’t rock the boat and don’t ever tell the truth about the vile damage the family court is doing . Judge Peter Boshier is a criminal and the Government is corrupt and the Families Commission head researcher is a radical feminist called Ms Cave . This is a twisted and sinister Helen Clark regime of destructive feminazi snakes !! Oh yes they have token fathers’ rights adocates that get funding as long as they stay silent and eat the cream cakes at gatherings of bullshit rhetoric sessions and the hateful dyke vipers that make up the Klark regime all clap there insidious blood soaked hands !

    Comment by dad4justice — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  14. Having tried through the Courts to obtain a Protection Order for myself, it is almost always a non starter for men.
    Having through the refuge, accompany men to pick up personal effects with Police attendance at our request to stop a females from beating their male partner who also cannot obtain Protection Orders truly almost breaks ones spirit.
    John Campbell had an E-mail from me tonight, will he read it out tomorrow?
    Will Neville contact any of my clients?
    Will the Ministry of Womens Affairs commision a report from my clients?

    At the coalface, I see it, feel it, and have to live with it.
    It rankles me to anger, sorry Warwick, Man Alive can’t help, a complete change of the feminized ideology by government to address the true situation might.

    Kind Regards
    Paul Catton
    East Auckland Refuge for Men and Families (09)940 6236

    Comment by Paul Catton — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 9:29 pm

  15. One day I was a happy loving dad then out of the blue – bang , smack , wack , bash , baton in face , without notice protection orders forced down your bleeding mouth and prison bound by lunchtime .

    Dear Helen Clark one question ;
    How many political prisoners do you have in New Zealand ?
    Clark bitch replies – we don’t call them political prisoners .
    Then what do you call them ?
    Falsely condemned fathers .

    Comment by dad4justice — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  16. We haven’t had a chance to catch up Paul, but the chap you introduced me to the other day – after talking to him, I think I can safely say I wouldn’t have been if you hadn’t helped him.

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 10:29 pm

  17. The sickening difficulty we all have to face with this ongoing insistance to ignore, for arrogant limited studies, is that we miss out on thinking about and having funded practical reforms against those extremes that embed women’s violence against men; such as that of creating legislation that attempts/allows as legal a single woman or a lesbian couple the right to have a child without demanding that child’s natural right to an association with their paternal flesh and blood: like the absent reflection from a wrinkling mind of self.

    Comment by Benjamin Easton — Mon 27th August 2007 @ 11:05 pm

  18. Judge Peta Boshier Principle De – Family Court Judge and charlatan said today that the research was “irresponsible and mischievous ” . The feminazi sewer rats are fighting over the smelly cheese of corruption, but who cares eh, as the tax payer provides an endless supply of doe rae me . One question bilious bitch Helen Clark . Does anybody know what is going on in this clearly cess -pit dysfunctional country ? Stand down you insane women !!

    Comment by dad4justice — Tue 28th August 2007 @ 8:09 am

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