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What was the Research Justification for DV Act?

Filed under: Domestic Violence,Gender Politics,Law & Courts — MurrayBacon @ 9:40 pm Thu 12th June 2014

International Research 1974 to 1995

The reason for looking at research available before the DV Act was passed in 1996, is to see whether the legislation was sensibly based on social research available at the time, or was based only on ideology? – ideology only

If the legislation wasn’t based on research, then were there sufficient warnings, that should have prevented the DV Act from being passed in its original form? – yes there were clear warnings, that were strenuously ignored.

In addition to research looking into efficacy, was any consideration given to perverse effects from the legislation? This was discussed in Parliament, but Sir Douglas Graham expressed confidence that judges would not misuse the powers being given to them by Parliament and would use these powers for positive effect. (The NZ Parliament discussion is reported in Hansard. The Hansard record for the DV Act is given below the research article, so you can see the MPs comments.)

After the DV Act was passed, no further consideration was given to perverse outcomes, even after complaints from fathers that 100% evidence-free POs were being issued and this was being used to manipulate care/custody decisions.

With the imminent release of the Glenn Child Abuse and DV Inquiry Report on Monday, it is worth looking at the social research basis, for the DV Act.

Research to 1992 showed a small positive effect of mandatory arrest reducing total violence, slightly larger than the effects from counselling.

Closer examination of these studies by 1995 showed that whilst there was a positive total effect on average, it actually tended to increase violence in a small but significant fraction of the cases. These were the cases which tended to involve the most serious violence, thus were the cases where serious injury or death were most likely to occur. This underlined that unthinking mandatory responses tended to exacerbate problems and lead to worse violence. (Mandatory outcomes also increase the potential for complainants to use the DV system to abuse their ex-partner, by subjecting them to sanctions that have not been judged by competent process to be relevant and appropriate. This is then a classical abuse of natural justice.)

This research underlined the importance of appropriate proportionate responses to incidents, based on carefully weighing all of the evidence and wisely choosing the appropriate response.

The following extract shows that arrest after domestic violence results in a small reduction in recidivism. (This is not saying that automatic prosecution and conviction without fair trial reduces recidivism.) However, it has a little greater positive effect, for perpetrators who are working and has a significant negative effect on perpetrators who are unemployed ie increased violence. As there is some correlation between unemployment and predisposition to violence, these latter are typically the people whom we are most concerned to persuade to use less violence.

Thus a wider conclusion should be that the response to the incident should be appropriate, proportionate and not an over-reaction. (This conclusion is many centuries old.)

Alan Bristoll suicide and murder:
Curiously, it appears from the meagre information available on the public record, that in fact what Alan Bristol did was a prescient warning of exactly how the DV Act would go so completely wrong, due to without evidence actions, ie non-proportionality and manipulation of the court to achieve aims not in the interests of the children.

He was responding to an allegation that lacked any real evidence at all. Perhaps he over reacted, in a very human way, to the possible over reaction that he was warned the courts were likely to make. The legal concept of proportionality covers this dynamic. When disproportionate actions by caughts are known to occur, for example convictions based on no evidence, then citizens are encouraged and incentivised to take disproportionate actions, as Allan Bristol did.

If this hunch on limited evidence is correct, then Christine Bristol’s attempt to manipulate the caught$ for her perceived gain (ie total control of the children), triggered an unfortunate over reaction on the part of her husband, leading to deaths. Should she have been charged for these manslaughters?
From the book: Domestic Violence Program Evaluation
Chapter 04 What Are the Lessons of the Police Arrest Studies?
Joel H. Garner and Christopher D. Maxwell
Below is a short extract from Chapter 4.

In reviewing what is known about the effectiveness of treatment or prevention programs in the area of domestic violence, the National Academy of Sciences (Chalk & King, 1998) surveyed over 2,000 studies published between 1980 and 1996. Of these studies, the Academy identified only 114 that (1) involved an intervention designed to treat some aspect of child maltreatment, domestic violence or elder abuse, (2) used an experimental or quasi-experimental design, and (3) measured and used violence as an outcome measure. Among the roughly six percent of the published studies of sufficient methodological value to warrant consideration by the Academy were seven studies that tested the deterrent effectiveness of the police making an arrest (or
issuing an arrest warrant) for misdemeanor assaults against a spouse or intimate partner. These are the “police arrest studies” reviewed in this paper.

The first of these seven studies, the Minneapolis domestic violence experiment (Sherman & Berk, 1984a), is among the most visible (Sherman & Cohn, 1989) and highly cited research articles in criminology (Cohn & Farrington, 1996). That experiment found that when suspects in misdemeanor spouse assault incidents were not arrested, the prevalence of official recorded re-offending within six months was 21%; this rate was 50% higher than the 14% re-offending rate of similarly situated suspects who were arrested.

In 1974, Lipton, Martinson, and Wilks (1975) reviewed the published research on effectiveness of rehabilitative treatments and concluded that “nothing worked.” Their review was limited to treatments implemented in a correctional setting and did not include law enforcement programs like police family crisis interventions but, as a result of their very negative assessment, the ideological underpinnings for all treatment programs were shattered.

In 1979, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences (Sechrest, White, & Brown, 1979) concurred with Martinson’s substantive assessment and added detailed critiques of the methodological weakness of much of the published research on rehabilitation. The Academy’s methodological critiques asserted that much of the prior criminological research had used unstandardized measures of recidivism, rarely had even roughly equivalent treatment and control groups, did not control for different times at risk, and failed to measure the delivery of treatment and control conditions.

In another highly controversial arena, Issac Erhlich’s econometric assessment supporting the deterrent effects of criminal sanctions was included in the U.S. Department of Justice’s amicus curiae brief supporting the constitutionality of the death penalty (Bork, 1974). The resulting substantive and methodological disputes over the value of criminal justice sanctions as an effective crime control strategy were addressed in a separate report by the National Academy of Sciences (Blumstein, Cohen, & Nagin, 1978). Among other issues, this Academy’s deterrence report emphasized the value of experimental designs as a means to assess the impact of changes in levels of criminal sanctions (Zimring, 1978).

These highly visible public debates over the relative effectiveness of rehabilitation and of deterrence, and the Academy’s repeated critiques of the methodological weaknesses of prior research provided support for the use of stronger research designs in Federally supported research at the National Institute of Justice.

In 1980, the new Director of Research at the Police Foundation, Lawrence W. Sherman, submitted a proposal to the Crime Control Theory Program that called for a rigorous test of deterrence theory; the idea was to use an experimental design to assess the deterrent effect of arrest on the crime of spouse assault. The rest is history.

The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment 1984
The basic history of the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment is an often told story. The Minneapolis police department agreed to implement an experimental design, where one of three alternative responses to incidents of misdemeanor domestic violence-arrest, separation, or counseling, would be determined on an equal probability basis. Sherman and his colleagues collected and analyzed data from the experimental incidents, from official police records of the subsequent criminal behavior of the suspects, and from interviews with victims. The findings of this study were reported in a Police Foundation Report (Sherman & Berk, 1984a), in the New York Times Science Section (Boffey, 1983), in many electronic and print media (Sherman & Cohn, 1989) and in several peer-reviewed scientific journals (Berk & Sherman, 1988; Sherman & Berk, 1984b).
Much has been made of the methodological rigor of the Minneapolis design but two other comparisons with the prior research on police family crisis intervention programs are, we think, instructive. First, Sherman and Berk’s study made victim safety, not police officer safety, the sole measure of success for alternative police responses to domestic violence. Following the Minneapolis experiment, victim safety is certainly the paramount and perhaps the only criteria for assessing the effectiveness of alternative police responses to domestic violence. Second, both reforms were based on research, were supported by NIJ, generated widely distributed reports, and received favourable media coverage.
Gartin (1991, p. 253) reports that, despite considerable missing data problems, the “analyses reported by Sherman and Berk (1984a) are reproducible” but that the weight of the evidence “seems to indicate that there was not as much of a specific deterrent effect for arrest” as the results from the original reports seemed to suggest.
The Minneapolis experiment is not above criticism. However, the rarely noted but actual exclusion of more than 5% of the experimental cases could as easily have compromised the rigor of this experiment as the often-noted speculation that officers who volunteered to conduct the research and helped design its protocols might have imperfectly implemented the random assignment. There is another lesson from the Minneapolis experiment. An earlier reanalysis of the Minneapolis data may have provided more reasonable expectations about how effective arrest alone would be as a treatment for reducing domestic violence. Such a reanalysis, however, requires the kind of hard work and scholarship that few commentators seem prepared to contribute, prior to publishing critical assessments of other people’s scientific products.

The Decision to Replicate
The importance of the Minneapolis experiment stems from its test of theory, its rigorous experimental design, its visibility in the popular press, its apparent impact on policy and the fact that it was replicated. Support for replication was widespread. The original authors urged replication (Sherman & Berk, 1984b). Early praise for the study’s design among criminological scholars was tempered by a preference for replication (Boffey, 1983; Lempert, 1984).
The decision to replicate the Minneapolis experiment turned out to be easier than the decisions on how to replicate. What aspects of the Minneapolis study should be copied and what aspects should be changed? How many new sites should be implemented and how would NIJ select the departments and the researchers to implement the replications in those sites? Perhaps the most important question was, would any police department other than Minneapolis agree to randomly assigning treatments to suspects? At the time, there were few scientific or administrative examples to guide this process.
The ultimate resolution of these issues was the initiation of six new experiments, one that began in 1985 (Omaha) and five additional sites initiated in 1986. NIJ required that each replication must involve experimental comparisons of alternative police responses to misdemeanor spouse assault incidents and measure victim safety using both official police records and victim interviews (NIJ, 1985). Other aspects of the design were left to the preferences of the local teams of researchers and implementing police agencies. Seventeen law enforcement agencies competed to be part of the replication program even though this program, unlike the NIJ Police Family Crisis Intervention programs of a decade earlier, did not provide additional financial resources to the department or to participating officers. The replication effort was research, not a demonstration, program and there were no Federal subsidies to the participating departments.
The main lesson of the events from 1983, when the Minneapolis results were initially released, to 1986 is that it was actually possible to replicate the design of the Minneapolis experiment but that this effort was neither instantaneous nor easy. In fact, the program’s design imposed a number of administrative burdens on the participating departments and none of the police arrest studies would have been possible without the willingness of law enforcement agencies throughout the country to participate in rigorous research examining their own behavior on an issue of considerable public controversy. Like Minneapolis, these departments had risen to Wilson’s challenge to gather systematic and empirical evidence of the consequences of their actions on the victims of domestic violence.

The Omaha Experiments 1990
There were two police arrest experiments implemented in Omaha, Nebraska between 1986 and 1989. One of these experiments (Dun-ford, Huizinga, & Elliot, 1990) closely copied the design of the Minneapolis Experiment: it involved the random assignment of arrest, separation and counseling in misdemeanor domestic violence incidents. The second experiment (Dunford, 1990), implemented simultaneously with the first, involved the random assignment of an arrest warrant in misdemeanor domestic violence incidents when the offender was not present when the police arrived. The Omaha studies found (and later studies confirmed) that when probable cause existed to make an arrest, the offender was absent more than 40% of the time. The first, and perhaps most important, lesson of the Omaha experiments is that police practices can be no better than 60% effective if they are limited to treating offenders who wait for the police to arrive. Using a variety of measures, Dunford (1990) found that warrants were consistently associated with less re-offending and that in several but not all of their measures, these comparisons exceeded the traditional tests of statistical significance. Based on the partial support from the statistical tests and the consistent direction of the effects of using warrants, Dunford (1990) suggested that the use of warrants deserved further investigation.
The substantive conclusions of the Omaha offender-present experiment did not confirm the original Minneapolis findings published by Sherman and Berk (1984a). In the Omaha offender-present experiment, Dunford and his colleagues reported that arrested offenders were more likely to re-offend based on official police records and less likely to re-offend based on victim interviews. Neither of the Omaha results, however, were sufficiently large to be statistically significant and Dunford et al. (1990), concluded that arrest “neither helped nor hurt victims in terms of subsequent conflict” (p. 204).
What lessons are to be drawn from the Minneapolis and Omaha results? The results are different but the experiments, while similar, were not conducted using the same measures or methods. For instance, in the victim interviews in Minneapolis, both violent acts and threats of violence were counted as failures and half of the re-offending instances involved threats only. In Omaha, only actual violence with injury to the victim was included in the measure of re-offending. Despite the more restrictive definition of new violence in the Omaha study, the proportion of victims that reported new violence in Omaha was over 40%; in the Minneapolis study the level of new violence reported in victim interviews was about 26%. In Omaha, Dunford and his colleagues compared treatments as randomly assigned and did not use statistical corrections for the misapplication of treatments. There are numerous other methodological differences between the two studies and it is difficult, if not impossible, from these two published works to determine whether the nature of police responses to domestic violence was different in Minneapolis and Omaha or whether some or all of the methodological differences generated the diverse results.
The publication of diverse findings is a common practice in social research but it can be disconcerting to policy makers who are trying to inform, if not base, policy on research findings. While there are methodological improvements in the Omaha offender-present study-notably researcher not police officer control of randomization and a much higher proportion of victims interviewed-both studies approach the standards for research advocated by the National Academy of Sciences. A major lesson of the Minneapolis and Omaha studies is that rarely will one social experiment, no matter how well designed and implemented, tell us very much and a second experiment, even one designed as a replication, does not add that much more knowledge. This would be true if the Omaha results were exactly the same as the Minneapolis results, but the disparate results emphasize the weakness of a scientific literature or a public policy based on one or two studies. In its wisdom, the management of NIJ had foreseen the limitations of just two police arrest studies and had found the funds and the will to initiate six replications.
The Omaha experiments reported on the prevalence of re-offending, the frequency of re-offending and the time to first new offense. The original publications on the Minneapolis experiment (Sherman & Berk, 1984a, 1984b) had reported only on the prevalence of re-offending. A 1986 National Academy of Sciences report (Blumstein, Cohen, Roth, & Visher, 1986) had encouraged the use of these alternative dimensions of criminal careers and victimization and the Omaha and other police arrest studies adopted the use of these alternative measures. In addition, Berk and Sherman (1988) reanalyzed the Minneapolis data using a survival model and continued to find statistically significant deterrent effects. Dunford and his colleagues reported that in both official records and in victim interviews some victims reported multiple new offenses and that the total number of new offenses was higher for arrested suspects than for suspects not arrested. Neither of these effects was statistically significant. In their analysis of the time to first failure, they found effects in the direction of deterrence in the victim interviews but in the other direction in the official records; neither findings were statistically significant. The lesson here is that arrest could decrease the proportion of suspects with new offenses but increase the total number of new offenses against a smaller number of victims.
The use of alternative measures and data sources means that there are not just one or two but many effects from each of the police arrest studies and a serious evaluation of the effectiveness of arrest requires a clear specification of which effects are important and which are not.
Unfortunately, our theories of deterrence and our understanding of how arrest and other treatments might improve the safety of women are not sufficiently well developed to specify exactly which measure or methods are the best tests of effectiveness. This is not simply a methodological issue but a central concern for individuals concerned with policy and for individuals concerned with testing theory. For the purposes of this paper, we have generally limited our discussion to the prevalence of re-offending but our choice is based on the need for parsimony and does not reflect theoretical or policy preference.

The Charlotte Experiment 1992
The Charlotte experiment (Hirschel & Hutchison, 1992; Hirschel, Hutchison, & Dean, 1992) followed the Minneapolis and Omaha models of testing three police actions-arrest, separation and counseling, and used official records and victim interviews to assess re-offending among randomly assigned treatments. Omaha and Minneapolis, however, were mid-sized Midwestern cities with relatively low crime and low unemployment. The racial composition of the Minneapolis sample was almost predominately White (57%) or Native American (18%). In Omaha, the sample was about 50% White and 50% African-American. Charlotte is a southern city with relatively high crime, high unemployment and the experiment there had a relatively large (70%) minority population. The evidence from Minneapolis and Omaha may be inadequate to address the effectiveness of alternative police responses in this very different context.
The published results of the Charlotte experiment were similar to those obtained in Omaha: in the official records, arrest was associated with increased re-offending and in the victim interviews, arrest was associated with reduced re-offending. In Charlotte, as in Omaha, neither of these effects were statistically significant and Hirschel and his colleagues argued that their experiment provides “no evidence that arrest is a more effective deterrent to subsequent assault” (Hirschel et al., 1992, p. 29). There are, however, two possible interpretations of the results obtained in Charlotte and in Omaha. One interpretation is that there is, in fact, no difference between arrest and other treatments. The second interpretation is that the research designs used in these studies are not capable of detecting differences that do exist. Despite the experimental design, the Omaha study had only 330 experimental cases (and 242 interviews), so the Omaha design is unlikely to be able to detect effects as big as those found in the Minneapolis study. The 686 experimental cases (and 338 interviews) in the Charlotte study meant that the analysis of official records was powerful enough to detect the kinds of effects reported in the official records in Minneapolis but not the effects reported in the 338 victim interviews.4
The results of the Minneapolis, Omaha and Charlotte studies agree on one point: there is no large or even medium sized deterrent effect for arrest. The Minneapolis results suggest that there is a small to medium sized effect; the Omaha and Charlotte studies did not find even small effects but their designs are generally not strong enough to detect modest or small effects (Cohen, 1988; Garner et al., 1995). The main lesson is this: three relatively small studies are not sufficient to answer the two central issues of this research: does arrest deter spouse assault, and, if it does, by how much?

The Milwaukee Experiment 1992
In Milwaukee, teams of researchers and police managers, in cooperation with local domestic violence service providers, designed and implemented an experiment that obtained 1,200 experimental cases and interviews with 921 victims (Sherman, 1992; Sherman et al., 1991; Sherman et al., 1992). The results of this experiment were consistent with the results found in Omaha and Charlotte: there was no statistically significant difference in the re-offending rates in official records and in victim interviews based on whether the suspect was arrested or not. In Milwaukee, on both measures, the arrested suspects had higher rates of re-offending in both the victims interviews and official records. Because of the random assignment of treatments and the larger sample size, there is no confusion in the Milwaukee study between non-existence effects and weak designs. In fact, the statistical power of the Milwaukee study was sufficient to detect even small effects but no such effects were found.
The design of the Milwaukee experiment involved some innovative approaches to better understand the effectiveness of alternative police responses to domestic violence. First, in order to assess the underlying mechanism of how arrest might deter future violence, this experiment examined differences between on-scene arrest with a short period of incarceration and on-scene arrest with a longer period of incarceration. Using official police records and victim interviews, the study found no statistically significant differences between these two arrest treatments. Second, the Milwaukee study used a third measure of re-offending-records of police calls to the local shelter. Using this measure, the Milwaukee study found statistically significant results showing arrest associated with higher rates of re-offending (Sherman et al., 1991). While the uniqueness of this measure makes direct comparison of these results with the results from the other police arrest studies difficult, the evidence obtained from the shelter data clearly does not support the notion that arrest deters subsequent violence. Third, the Milwaukee design called for interviewing some of the arrested suspects immediately after they were arrested. While the nature of these interviews limits their utility, the idea of suspect interviews is important. In fact, deterrence theory (Maxwell, 1998; Zimring & Hawkins, 1971) posits changes in suspect behaviour but the design of the police arrest studies was to interview victims.

The Experiments in Metro-Dade 1992
The experiment in alternative police responses to domestic violence in Dade County (Pate et al., 1991) found statistically significant deterrent effects for arrest when re-offending is measured by victim interviews; the official records also showed arrest to be associated with decreased re-offending but the effect was not statistically significant.5 This was the first confirmation of the statistically significant effects observed in Minneapolis and increased the likelihood that there is a deterrent effect for arrest. With the addition of the Dade findings, we can observe that, using victim interviews, four of the five experiments had found effects in the direction of deterrence; in two of these experiments, the effects were statistically significant. Using official records, two of the five experiments had found effects in the direction of escalation and in only one experiment (Minneapolis) were these effects statistically significant. Minneapolis had established the importance of measuring the safety of victims; the emerging pattern suggests the importance of how victimization is measured, by victim interview or by police records.
There were two experiments implemented in Dade. The first was the replication of the Minneapolis experiment with just two treatments, arrest and no arrest. The second experiment used the same incidents as the first but randomly assigned half the cases to a program of follow-up services that was already in place in Dade County. This second experiment was larger and more rigorous than the Minneapolis, Omaha and Charlotte experiments and just as rigorous as the replication experiment in Dade County. Pate et al. (1991) report that there were no differences in the official records and in the victim interviews between those victims who had been given the follow-up police services treatment and those who had not. The statistical power of this experiment was sufficient to warrant the conclusion that these services did not protect the victims of domestic violence. The results of this second experiment were never published and have received no attention in the voluminous literature of alternative police responses to domestic violence. The study was not even mentioned in either of the recent National Academy of Sciences reports (Chalk & King, 1998; Crowell & Burgess, 1996), despite the fact that it meets all of the Academy’s criteria for research quality. Given the extensive interest in post arrest follow-up services for victims of domestic violence, continued inattention to the nature and results of the one true experiment on the limited ability of these services to actually help victims ignores the best available evidence and may put the safety and lives of women at unnecessary risk.

The Colorado Springs Experiment 1992
In the largest police arrest study ever conducted, the Colorado Springs Police Department (Berk, Campbell, Klap, & Western, 1992a; Black et al., 1991) randomly assigned 1,660 domestic violence incidents to four treatment groups-arrest, separation, on-scene counselling and post incident counselling. The results of this experiment in many ways mirror the results reported in Dade County-a statistically significant deterrent effect existed when re-offending is defined using victim interviews but the deterrent effect found in the official records was not statistically significant. The results of the Dade and Colorado Springs experiments breathed new life into the diverse findings from the police arrest studies but they did not resolve whether the weight of the available evidence favoured or opposed the deterrence argument.
The size of the Colorado Springs experiment strengthened its design but it also created numerous implementation problems for the Colorado Springs Police Department. The study’s design called for interviewing all of the victims shortly after the experimental incident and at about six months after the experimental incident. Had they accomplished those goals they would have completed 3,320 interviews. In addition, the Colorado Springs study attempted to interview three fourths of the victims by phone on a biweekly schedule for up to three months. Had they accomplished that goal they would have completed another 6,225 interviews for a total of 9,545 interviews. They actually interviewed 1,350 or 84% of the victims at least once and completed a total of 6,032 interviews. The extensive interviewing, however, raises another question: did the attention and surveillance involved in the interviewing process contribute to or detract from the safety of the victims. This issue is relevant to all of the police arrest studies where the assigned treatment was not just arrest but arrest with follow-up interviews; however, the interview intensive study in Colorado Springs highlights the importance of this design feature. Ironically, prior to Maxwell (Maxwell, 1998), there were no published results based on the victim interviews from Colorado Springs.

The Atlanta Experiment
There was a seventh police arrest study initiated in the Atlanta Police Department but, as of 1999, this project has not produced a final report to NIJ or published any findings from this research and it is unlikely that it ever will. Given the conflicting findings from the other six experiments, the evidence from Atlanta could have contributed much to the issue of the effectiveness of arrest as a response to spouse assault. Implementation failures happen, but the fact that this project did not produce an accounting of why the study was not completed means that we learned next to nothing from this $750,000 investment. The failure of the Atlanta project, however, highlights the accomplishments of the other studies: despite innumerable obstacles, eight police arrest studies were competently and, in some aspects, expertly implemented in six jurisdictions.

Summarizing the Site Specific Results
The existence of diverse findings from the police arrest studies raises the central issue of this paper: how can the information in these studies best be understood. Since the publication of reports and articles on the design, implementation and findings of the six police arrest studies, several assessments of the meaning and lessons of these experiments have been produced. Four of these prior assessments warrant note.
A very different review and assessment of the police arrests studies was published in three companion articles (see: Berk, Campbell, Klap, & Western, 1992b; Pate & Hamilton, 1992; Sherman, Smith, Schmidt, & Rogan, 1992). These assessments analyzed the raw data from four (Omaha, Milwaukee, Colorado Springs and Dade County) of the six police arrest studies and found that arrest deterred employed suspects but did not deter unemployed suspects.
We argue that the effect of arrest was real but modest: reductions in subsequent aggression varied from four to 30%, depending upon the source of the data (official records or victim interviews) and the measure of re-offending (prevalence, frequency or time to failure) employed (Maxwell et al., forthcoming, 2000). We call these effects modest for several reasons. First, in three of the five tests, the effects did not reach statistical significance. Second, other effects were much larger than those for arrest. For instance, the suspect’s age and prior criminal history were associated with increases in re-offending from 50 to 330%. Third, regardless of site, outcome measures, or treatment delivered, most suspects did not re-offend. Consistent with other studies (Langan & Inns, 1986), the police arrest studies have found consistent desistence from re-offending once the police have been called. Our finding is that arrested suspects desisted at higher rates than suspects who were not arrested. Lastly, we determined that the effect for arrest was modest because, even among the arrested cases, a substantial proportion of victims-on the order of 30%-reported at least one new offense and those who were re-victimized reported an annual average of more than five new incidents of aggression by their partner. However consistent the deterrent effect of arrest may be in our analysis, it is clearly not a panacea for the victims of domestic violence.

The police arrest studies command a unique place in criminology and in our understanding of alternative police responses to domestic violence. Beginning with the Minneapolis experiment, they changed the nature of public debate from the safety of police officers to the safety of victims and demonstrated how good research could contribute to the policies and practices of the police. These studies heralded the use of higher methodological standards for criminological research and continue to inform a central theoretical debate in criminology over the deterrent effects of legal sanctions.
These qualities are rare (to non-existent) in criminological research in general and in most investigations into the nature of domestic violence in particular. Few studies can match the methodological rigor, implementation fidelity, theoretical contribution or impact on policy of any of these studies; as a group they may be unsurpassed by any other multi-site collaborative effort in social research on crime and justice. Despite these qualities, it is unlikely that another police arrest study will ever be conducted. The policy debate on alternative police responses to domestic violence is no longer about alternatives to arrest but alternatives to what the police and other agencies should do after an arrest. Random assignment between arrest and other treatments was ethically appropriate only when policymakers agreed that they had insufficient evidence to choose among them. The police arrest studies took advantage of that unusual historical moment and experimented with the lives of over 10,000 victims and suspects (and their families). As a result, we now know far more about the nature of domestic violence and the ability of arrest to improve the safety of victims. Although the size of the deterrent effect of arrest is modest, the empirical and political support for arrest is unlikely to evaporate sufficiently to warrant new tests like the Minneapolis and replication experiments. There may be additional reviews of this research and even more reanalyses of its data, but this research program is finished collecting data and implementing experiments.
The police arrest studies were, to say the least, imperfect. Sites were selected based on the willingness of police agencies to participate, not as a representative sample. Victim interviews were preferred over suspect interviews. The measures of failure did not include a variety of psychological, employment, or quality of life indicators which may be relevant to an assessment of the overall effectiveness of arrest. The experiments did not standardize the delivery of treatments within or between sites and obtained few common measures of what the alternative police responses to domestic violence actually involved. Both official records and victim interview data collection were not always systematic, complete or accurate. The data that were collected and archived do not permit the production of the complete set of originally contemplated multi-site analyses and, of course, the findings and data from Atlanta were never published. Future research would do well to build upon the strengths of the police arrest studies and to avoid, if possible, their design and implementation limitations.

The contemporary policy discussion surrounding the appropriate societal responses to domestic violence includes numerous suggestions for mandating arrest, coordinated legal and social service responses, the use of protection orders, offender treatment programs, intensive responses to high-rate or high-risk situations, and the prosecution and incarceration of offenders. These suggestions do not appear to be derived from, nor tested by, systematic empirical research that approaches the standards proclaimed by the National Academy of Sciences and met by the police arrest studies. The current discussions and policy options appear to be driven more by the personal preferences and ideology of the currently powerful than any real evidence about the safety of victims or behaviour of suspects subjected to these plausible but untested approaches.
Decisions about alternative police responses to domestic violence need to be made every day and made without complete knowledge of the actual effectiveness of those responses. Innovation and policymaking cannot and should not wait for research findings, but we should learn from what we are doing. This is true in 1999 as it was in Minneapolis in 1981 and in Omaha, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Dade County and Milwaukee in 1986. The police arrest studies were possible because a small number of police managers and domestic violence reformers were prepared to invest in a long-term program of rigorous research testing their most cherished beliefs about the most effective police responses to domestic violence, while the rest of the country continued to make decisions based on the best information available. At present, millions of victims and suspects and their families are part of a grand social experiment for which it appears the commitment to and use for knowledge approximates the police family crisis intervention debacle of the 1970s more than the program of systematic social research that was the police arrest studies. Moreover, there appears to be less of a willingness among researchers and policy-makers to accept Wilson’s challenge to obtain “reliable information as to the consequences of following different approaches.” We fear that there is a lesson here.

Hansard Parliamentary Debates on Domestic Violence

1994_11_29 1st reading DV Act
1994_11_30 question Domestic Violence
1995_04_30 question in house Elizabeth Tennet
1995_05_30 question in house Elizabeth Tennet point scoring
1995_10_10 2nd reading DV Act
1995_10_11 question DV Act
1995_10_12 2nd reading DV Act
1995_12_11 In Committee DV Act
1995_12_12 3rd reading DV Act

1994_11_29 1st reading DV Act

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – Hon. D A M GRAHAM

Hon. D A M GRAHAM (Minister of Justice): I move, That the Domestic
Violence Bill be introduced. It is intended that this Bill be
referred to the Justice and Law Reform Committee for consideration.
The tragedy of domestic violence cannot be overstated. More and
more people are coming to realise that not only does it hurt those
who are battered and bruised, but that all society pays the price in
some form or other. In the not too distant past we tended to be
rather complacent about the issue, considering it not to be a
significant problem in what we consider to be a civilised society.
We express shock at the old English common law rule that allowed a
husband to beat his wife with a stick “no thicker than his thumb”.
Yet it is evident from the statistics that the kind of attitudes that
sanctioned that law still exist in society today. For some people
scenes like those in Once Were Warriors are not just something seen
at the movies—that is their reality.
Strong measures are needed both to send a message that this
behaviour is unacceptable in New Zealand in the 1990s and to provide
greater protection when domestic violence occurs. There are two key
parts to this reform. The first part replaces the Domestic Protection
Act of 1982 with new legislation with a revamped regime in which
victims of domestic violence can obtain a range of orders. The second
part contains amendments to the Guardianship Act of 1968 that are
directed at ensuring that the court deals with allegations of
violence made in custody and access proceedings so that any orders it
makes will not compromise the safety of the children concerned.
When the Domestic Protection Act was first enacted it broke new
ground. Protection was extended to women and men living in de facto
relationships. To deal with violent behaviour, a special detention
power was created that provided a mandatory cooling-off period.
In recent years, as a consequence of increased public awareness of
domestic violence, many suggestions have been made for changes to the
1982 Act. In October 1993 my department published a discussion paper
on the 1982 Act to focus public debate on the nature of the reform.
The paper included a number of options that drew on research,
including the 1992 report Protection From Family Violence prepared
for the Victims Task Force by Ruth Busch, Neville Robertson, and
Hilary Lapsley. One hundred and ten submissions were received on the
discussion paper from a wide range of individuals and groups. These
included people who had personal experience of the workings of the
present law, women’s refuges, women’s and church groups,
organisations involved in counselling and programme delivery,
lawyers, and Government departments and agencies.
Many were concerned about the perceived lack of effectiveness of
the orders available under the 1982 Act. Amongst the key themes that
emerged were the ongoing need for legislation to specifically address
domestic violence; the need to reduce all forms of domestic violence
in a wider range of domestic relationships; the need to provide
better protection for children and young people involved in violent
domestic situations; the need to empower victims by providing
user-friendly and culturally appropriate remedies and court
procedures; the need for counselling services for victims as well as
for abusers; the need for clearer, stronger sanctions and more
effective enforcement; and the need for more publicity and education
programmes to change public attitudes and those of judges and others
working with the Act.
The primary objective of the new Bill is to provide greater
protection for victims of domestic violence. The Bill targets
violence that is usually hidden, occurring primarily in homes and
between people in close relationships including—but not limited
to—family members. Factors such as the often intense nature of
these relationships and the proximity in which those affected live,
increase the potential for stress and conflict. While close
relationships, especially those within the family, attract a measure
of privacy, that privacy must not be used to hide violence.
Domestic violence can take many forms not limited to physical
abuse. The Bill therefore makes it clear that the term includes
sexual abuse and psychological abuse such as harassment,
intimidation, threats, and damage to property. Non-physical abuse can
be just as harmful, vicious, and distressing as physical injuries.
These “bruises” on the inside can result in the victim being too
demoralised to be able to take steps to avoid further acts of
violence. There is evidence to suggest that behaviour that does not
itself involve physical abuse is often part of a pattern of behaviour
that eventually escalates into actual physical violence.
While the 1982 Act recognised this to some extent, the Bill will
make it plain that an incident involving physical abuse is not a
prerequisite to the making of an order. The Bill calls this type of
abuse “psychological” abuse. Some prefer to call it “emotional”
abuse. I invite the select committee to consider what the best term
is to use in this context. Whatever term is used, it should be broad
in its scope and cover the deliberate infliction of all types of
mental anguish.
In recognition of the diversity of the domestic relationships that
now occur in society, the Bill will allow a much wider range of
individuals to apply for protection orders—namely, cohabiting
partners, whether heterosexual or same sex; family members; people
who share a household; and people in close personal relationships.
There will be provision for people to make applications on behalf of
children and young people who come within any of the above classes.
When other potential applicants are unable to apply themselves—for
instance, because they are in hospital or are afraid to
apply—another person may apply on their behalf. Orders will be more
flexible than they are now. They will be able to apply against a
person who has done something at the respondent’s request that, if
done by the respondent, would be grounds for an order.
There is to be one protection order to replace the present
non-molestation and non-violence orders. The new order needs to be
able to cater for those who wish to continue the relationship as well
as those who do not. It will automatically protect any children of
the applicant’s family and may also protect other specified people
such as the applicant’s new partner. The protection order will have
standard conditions that prohibit any type of domestic violence
regardless of the kind that prompted the application.
When the parties are living apart, certain behaviour is expressly
prohibited. For example, the person against whom the order is made
must not watch or loiter near the protected person’s residence or any
other place that person frequents, follow that person about, or make
contact except in certain limited circumstances. In addition, the
court will be able to impose special conditions that are appropriate
in the particular case. These conditions could, for instance, relate
to arrangements for the transfer of a child for access.
When a protection order is made, the Bill requires that the police
consider the exercise of powers under the Arms Act to seize and
confiscate firearms. I invite the select committee to consider
whether the Bill should go further and give the court powers relating
to firearms. Positive measures to promote changes in behaviour and
attitudes are necessary if there is to be any long-term amelioration
of domestic violence.
When a protection order is made there is to be a presumption that
the respondent should attend counselling or a programme in an attempt
to modify the respondent’s future behaviour. While some judges do
this now, the Bill makes it clear that this should happen as a matter
of course unless there is good reason not to do so. In addition,
there is provision for programmes for applicants and affected
children, in recognition that they may need some support and
assistance to pick up the pieces of their lives. Both these
initiatives will require additional resources to ensure that
appropriate services are available throughout New Zealand.
I turn now to the enforcement of protection orders. The Bill
increases the penalty for breach of a protection order to a maximum
of 6 months’ imprisonment or a $5,000 fine, or both. There is to be a
greater penalty for persistent breaches—namely, a maximum of 2
years’ imprisonment. As at present, the police may arrest without
warrant when there is a suspected breach of the order. Suggestions
have been made that the power of arrest should be mandatory rather
than relying on the existence of a strict police policy of arrest for
breaches. A statutory power to that effect, however, would be
unprecedented in our criminal justice system, but again I invite the
select committee to give further consideration to the issue.
The Bill tightens the bail laws so that when there is a
breach—other than failure to attend counselling—there is no
police bail within the first 24 hours. While the court can grant bail
during that period, the paramount consideration is the safety of the
victim. After that period—if the person has not been bailed by the
court—the police may bail the person charged and impose conditions
for the protection of the victim.
Occupation, tenancy, and ancillary orders relating to furniture
will continue to be available. In addition, there will be a new
furniture order that will, in certain circumstances, allow a person
in whose favour a protection order has been made to remove the
furniture and household effects from the property to re-establish a
home elsewhere.
Court procedures are to be simplified as far as possible. The
threshold for ex parte or temporary protection orders is lowered. As
at present, a respondent will immediately be able to seek a variation
or discharge of the order. When a temporary order is made it will, as
a general rule, become final automatically after 3 months unless the
respondent takes some steps in the proceedings. In that case a
hearing will be held in the usual way. The Bill makes it clear that
the applicant is entitled to have a support person present during a
court hearing. Once a protection order becomes final, it will remain
in force until the court discharges it.
Amendments are made to the civil legal aid provisions of the Legal
Services Act. In domestic protection proceedings the applicant for a
protection order does not have to pay a contribution nor will there
be a charge on the applicant’s property in respect of the costs of
the proceedings.
I turn now to the second part of the reform. The Bill makes
important changes to the Guardianship Act. These follow from the
recommendations made by Sir Ronald Davison, who was appointed to
inquire into the family court proceedings relating to Alan and
Christine Bristol and to report on whether there was a need for any
change in the law or in family court practice. Sir Ronald concluded
that, under the law as it is, and with the current practices of the
family court, the deaths of Alan Bristol and his three children were
not foreseeable or preventable. However, he went on to make some
recommendations for changes to the law.
The Bill therefore provides that when allegations of violence are
made in custody and access proceedings the court is to determine, as
soon as practicable, whether the allegations can be substantiated. In
cases when an allegation of violence against a child or a party to
the proceedings is substantiated, the violent parent is not to be
given custody or unsupervised access unless the parent can satisfy
the court that the child will be safe.
Domestic violence is a complex and deep-rooted behavioural problem
that can be eliminated only by fundamental changes in society and in
attitudes towards women and children. While the changes to domestic
protection law and the Guardianship Act represent a significant
advance on the present law, it is important to appreciate that they
are unlikely to reduce domestic violence overnight. Indeed, in the
short term it may look as though domestic violence has increased,
because some previously “invisible” violence will now be able to be
the subject of orders and also police involvement.
While legislation can send important messages about the
seriousness of domestic violence, there also needs to be a concerted
effort on other fronts. Strategies, such as those being developed
currently by the crime prevention unit of the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet will play an important role in developing
initiatives to reduce all types of violence. Eliminating domestic
violence requires changes to a culture that is unfortunately threaded
with attitudes that condone violence in various contexts. This will
take time and effort on the part of everyone in society but I hope
that this Bill represents one large step along the way. I commend the
Bill to the House.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – Hon. PHIL GOFF

Hon. PHIL GOFF (Roskill): The Labour Opposition supports the
introduction of the Bill. I want to pick up on the Minister’s last
point and agree that it takes us some steps down the way, but the
Opposition would want to make the point that this legislative measure
by itself will not be sufficient to deal with the massive problem
that domestic violence represents in our society. We support this
legislation because it is consistent with the Victims Task Force
report entitled Protection from Family Violence, and it is also
consistent with the Davison report. A little later I will ask the
Minister some questions about that, because it seems that the Bill
does not go the whole way towards implementing what Sir Ronald
Davison suggested in the Bristol inquiry.
I say that the legislation takes us only part way down the track
because for these measures to work we have to have adequate
resourcing to back them up. I am talking about adequate resourcing in
terms of provision of support for the victim. We know that makes a
big difference. That is why the Hamilton abuse intervention pilot
programme has been successful, because the resourcing has been there
for the groups to come in behind and support and encourage the
victim, and ensure that the victim does not believe that the domestic
violence that has been inflicted simply has to be accepted.
The resourcing is also necessary if we are to have prevention
programmes that work. It is all very well to sentence people to
undergo counselling and to undergo programmes, but if the Government
then denies the support for those programmes to make sure they work
we are deliberately jeopardising the victims of domestic violence and
sentencing them to further problems. Again the evidence is there in
the pilot programme in Hamilton, and the group Men For Non-Violence,
that when the resources are provided the attitude of offenders can be
changed. Indeed, that has happened and the reoffending rate has been
dramatically reduced.
But what we also hear from those programmes is that inadequate
funding means that too often they can only at best do half a job. It
is worth mentioning that for victim support we spend on average $7.35
for each victim. I have been around victims’ support groups. I know
the pressure they are under. I know they are in danger of burning
out. I recommend to the Minister that he visits those programmes and
that he backs up these legislative measures with the sort of
resources that are needed to make real inroads into the problem of
The other point I draw to the Minister’s attention is that
domestic violence does not take place in isolation from the wider
economic and social environment. Legislation to deal with violence,
without regard to the socio-economic factors that contribute to its
incidence, will not produce the results that the community wants. For
too long the magnitude of the problems caused by domestic violence
has been underestimated in this country. Too little importance has
been attached to the need for measures to deal effectively with
violence in the home.
It was interesting that the Roper report in 1987 revealed for the
first time that 80 percent of all violence in this country is
domestic violence. Recent police reports confirm that figure. Yet for
a long, long time, politicians in this country, the news media, and
general public attitude has been that the problem of violence is on
the streets not in the home. In fact, the reverse is true because the
largest part of the problem of violence in our society is found in
the home. Half of all homicides take place in the home—people are
killed by those whom they thought were near and dear to them.
The most insidious thing about domestic violence is that it
carries over from one generation to the next. Violent homes provide
negative role models. Boys in that environment learn that violence is
part of the male’s role. Girls accept that violence is part of a
normal relationship. If we are to break that cycle of violence we
need to do something effective now and we need to resource it
properly to prevent that violence from occurring. What we need is a
clear and unambiguous message from Parliament, from the courts, from
the police, and from public attitudes that domestic violence should
be treated like any other form of violence.
It disappoints me in this Bill that the Minister ignores a
recommendation in the Davison report that domestic violence be
accorded the same penalties that other assaults are accorded under
the Crimes Act. Perhaps the Minister, when he responds to the
comments of the Opposition, will explain to us why we still separate
out domestic violence and accord it lower penalties than we accord to
other violence by strangers.
This Bill should have been given greater priority. It is now 7
years since the Roper committee reported and made recommendations on
domestic violence, which have still not been implemented. It is more
than 2 years since the Victims Task Force reported and made 101
recommendations—the vast majority of which have yet to be put into
place. The Davison report on the Bristol inquiry—which was very
straightforward and clear—was made 8 months ago and it has taken
all this time to get those reports put into legislation.
Nevertheless, I want to applaud some of the key measures of this
Bill. I want to applaud the fact that it extends the range of persons
who can seek protection from domestic violence, because while
domestic violence was once seen in a stereotypical way—assault by a
man against his wife—it ignored that there were other forms of
relationship and other forms of violence and, in particular, the
phenomenon of “elder violence” with younger people being violent
towards older people in the family. Of course, we have seen this year
in New Zealand the growing incidence of child homicide and assault on
I also support the fact that the categories of behaviour in
respect of which protection may be sought are extended from the
obvious physical and sexual violence to psychological abuse.
Psychological abuse can be incredibly damaging in this area. So I
welcome those things.
I welcome the formation of a single protection order replacing the
non-molestation order and non-violence order. I welcome the fact that
that is now more flexible in its application. I support also the
extension of provisions available to the court to recommend or to
order the parties, or one of the parties, to attend counselling and
to make failure to attend counselling an offence.
The sanctions in this measure are increased—and that is
appropriate—to a maximum fine of $5,000 or 6 months’ imprisonment.
When a person repeatedly ignores the existence of a protection order
the term of imprisonment can be up to 2 years. The bail provisions in
this Bill are also important. It is essential that when a person
breaches a protection order police bail cannot be granted for at
least 24 hours. I believe that provides a very important cooling down
period. I support the fact that the need to protect the victim is
made the paramount consideration in the granting of police bail.
There is plenty of evidence that bail given inappropriately in the
past has cost human lives and has caused unnecessary damage to
I have questions to ask the Minister about the provisions relating
to firearms. It is important that when a person has been guilty of
domestic violence and is in possession of a firearm or a firearms
licence that fact be notified to the police. Under this Bill the
police have the discretion to revoke the firearms licence and to
seize arms. But the adequacy of this measure will need closer
scrutiny at the select committee stage.
The provisions for legal aid without the requirement to make a
contribution towards it are important. So too are the enforceability
of New Zealand protection orders overseas and, vice versa, overseas
protection orders being enforced in New Zealand.
The Minister quite rightly said that in terms of amendment to the
Guardianship Act, this Bill picks up many of the Davison
recommendations. In particular, when a history of violence is proved
the violent party must not be granted custody or allowed unsupervised
access unless the court is satisfied that the child will be safe. But
there are some things that do not appear explicitly to have been
picked up from the Davison recommendations. I would like to ask the
Minister what provisions are made for minimising opportunities for
violence during times of access and change-over of custody, because
that has been seen as a period in which the victim has been
particularly prone to assault by the violent party.
I ask the Minister whether he has sufficient in this Bill to
ensure that, in relation to domestic violence, the courts no longer
regard the other spouse as in some way having provoked the violence.
It has been a real weakness in court attitudes that the person
against whom the violence is directed is often regarded as
contributing to that violence. We need the message loud and clear to
be that there is no excuse in any circumstances for a person to use
violence against another person in a domestic or any other situation.
I repeat the point about why the penalties for domestic violence
do not equate with the penalties for assault under the Crimes Act.
The former Chief Justice recommended that that should be the case; it
does not appear to be in this Bill. Again I ask the Minister whether
he can guarantee to this House that resources will be provided to
ensure that education and anger management programmes are in place to
change the attitude and behaviour of the offender. If those resources
are not in place then this is a lot of hot air. Those resources must
be in place for this legislation to be effective. So far the track
record of the Government does not give us great confidence in that
I ask the Minister why this Bill does not appear to address the
concern that Sir Ronald Davison had that, when court orders were
supposedly made by consent that consent was in fact freely and
willingly given. Aside from those specific questions, I ask about the
general approach the Government will be taking to resource adequately
the preventive programmes. The support given to victims groups of
$7.35 a victim is not enough. The Minister knows those groups do need
extra help because he has received correspondence from Men For
Non-Violence stating they are running on a shoe-string, and that they
need more assistance in that regard. He knows that the Hamilton abuse
intervention pilot programme, which has been successful, is still up
in the air about whether funding for it will be guaranteed. If we do
not put the resources in, the problem will continue.
Will the Minister also complement this legislation with other
necessary measures to deal with the problem of family stress, which
is closely associated with domestic violence? The Roper report talked
about the need for targeted early intervention programmes for at-risk
families. The crime prevention unit has talked about exactly the same
thing. All the evidence is there that interventions are most
successful when they occur early in the life cycle. But are we in
fact putting the resources in that area that stop the strain and
tensions within family and prevent the outbreak of violence?
I am not suggesting that domestic violence is confined to just one
sector of the community. Patently it is not. It is a problem that
exists right across all socio-economic levels. But we know that when
the family is under financial stress, such as many families are with
the increase in market rents and the cut-back in benefits, then
violence is more likely to be an outcome in that family. So are we to
have legislation that finally picks up the recommendations of groups
like the Victims Task Force in terms of legislative provisions but
still then not tackle the actual causes of domestic violence in our
We have had a long period of time when this has been debated. We
have had report after report, and the recommendations are mutually
consistent, but still we insist on taking a piecemeal approach to the
problems of domestic violence. I put it to the Minister that while
the measures in this Bill, however belated, are welcome, this Bill
will not succeed in its intentions unless he is prepared to provide
the resources and complement these measures with other measures that
are needed across the justice portfolio.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – Hon. KATHERINE O’REGAN

Hon. KATHERINE O’REGAN (Associate Minister of Women’s Affairs): I
am pleased to be able to speak in this introduction debate on the
Domestic Violence Bill and, at long last, to see this Bill before the
House. It has taken us a long time to get the Bill to where it is,
but I believe that what we have before us is a good Bill. I guess
there will always be other areas that we will need to address as time
proceeds. One of those issues is probably stalking legislation. I
hope the Minister will be able to give us some idea of exactly where
that issue is in the bowels of the Department of Justice. I would
hope we will be able to address that issue before too long.
I would like to begin with some of the words from Protection from
Family Violence and pay tribute to the authors of the report
commissioned by the Victims Task Force. They are Ruth Bush, Neville
Robertson, and Hilary Lapsley from the University of Waikato. I would
like to begin with some of the words they used in their preface: “To
the women we interviewed who told their stories and who have been
silenced long and enough; to the women who have been hidden and came
out of hiding to tell their stories; to the women who have gone back
into hiding and are there still now; to the women who have paid to
tell their stories in ways they should not have to, who have paid
with their bodies and their pain; to the women who still might pay
when it is known they have told their stories; to the silent children
listening to their mothers’ stories, those children who have learnt
to be silent to survive and whose stories are yet to be told; to the
women who have died,”—and two died during the time they were
working on this report—“the days of their deaths were marked by
the system’s trivialisation of the dangers you faced.” I would hope
that tonight this piece of legislation will address to a major degree
the concerns that the Victims Task Force report highlighted to the
Government at that time.
As Associate Minister of Women’s Affairs, I would like to pick out
some of the major issues that address women particularly, although
there is a lot in here that obviously affects both husbands and wives
or partners, and children. I would like to look particularly at some
of the clauses here, and congratulate the Minister on listening to
the concerns expressed by the two Ministers of Women’s Affairs and
the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, to include some of the provisions.
The particular areas that I would like to highlight are the
removal of the requirement for contribution to legal-aid costs or a
charge on property. A question was asked recently in the House by a
member who sought that information. I was glad that we were able to
tell her that we were looking at that removal.
The other issue is in clause 19: the provision for counselling or
programmes for women. I believe that that in itself is a major
advance for us, particularly for women. I think that clause 18, which
states that the court may impose special conditions, does leave us
open for opportunities to discuss particularly the issues surrounding
the firearms issue, which the member who just resumed his seat spoke
I believe that at the present time we should perhaps look more
closely at this position. As it was stated, there is no automatic
removal of firearms from a house where there is a domestic problem
and violence has been used. The police can revoke the licence, but we
would like to see an automatic removal of firearms from that
particular home or house so that the victims are much better
protected, and, of course, they are both women and children in the
There is also an issue relating to custody and access. The task
force identified that many disagreements occurred when children were
being either dropped off or collected under custody and access
orders. I believe that what has been done here will ensure that that
matter will be resolved.
In the area of mutual orders—clause 16—where the court grants
an application for a protection order, it must not also make a
protection order in favour of the respondent unless the respondent
has made an application for a protection order and the court has
determined that application in accordance with this Act. In the past,
judges have made decisions in which they impose a protection order on
both partners; that they are both to keep away from each
other—which I think has come to be known as the “Two to tango”
clause—which, of course, is an automatic presumption that the fault
lies particularly with the women in most instances. This was
addressed by the Victims Task Force report, as well. I am glad to say
that the Government has addressed that issue in clause 16.
I spoke to the New South Wales Minister for the Status of Women,
and she expressed to me her hope that New Zealand would see very soon
in its legislation a reciprocal agreement with regard to domestic
protection orders between Australia and New Zealand. I am very
pleased to see that that, too, is within the body of this
This House and this nation cannot condone violence in any shape or
form, particularly against women and children. I believe that the
cost of family violence to this nation falls somewhere between $1
billion and $5 billion. That is a lot of money. More so, it is a lot
of heartache, pain and physical suffering, and psychological
suffering. I hope that this legislation will attempt to address some
of those areas of the law of the past, which I believe did serve us
well for the time, but which now need amending. I believe that this
piece of legislation will go a long way to doing that. I hope that in
the future, if it needs amending again, this House will do so.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay): It is with pride and some pleasure
that I see this legislation coming before the House. I want to say
thank you to the Minister for finally bringing in the legislation. I
also want to place on record my thanks to the Labour women members of
Parliament who have also worked hard on this issue, particularly over
the last year, but also to all the women out there in the groups,
working away—men and women—the women who have provided evidence
in matters relating to the need for changes in legislation, and to
all of us who have pushed and prodded, embarrassed and lobbied the
Minister to finally bring this piece of legislation into Parliament
in the dead of night here on the first day of December 1994. It is
here at last, and we celebrate that, but I do want to say that it is
about time.
Domestic violence is indeed a very sickening phenomenon that
occurs in our society. It is true that 80 percent of all violence in
our community is, in fact, occurring inside our own homes. It is
mainly against women and it is mainly against children. Every month
of every year, a woman is murdered by her husband or her partner.
Most children who are killed or abused in New Zealand are, in fact,
killed or abused in their own homes. New Zealand now has the
sixth-highest child-abuse rate in the world. That is not a very good
statistic, and, in conjunction with the highest youth suicide
rate—that issue is somewhat connected with what we are dealing with
today—it is indeed a very sad case.
But I repeat, I am very pleased to see this legislation, and I am
sure it will be of some good. We do not wish to see a repeat of the
sorts of horrendous examples that we have seen in the past, in which
domestic violence has played a part. There was the case, for example,
of Catherine Coghlan, who was shot by her husband as she was leaving
a counselling session in Christchurch, after which he then shot
himself; and the case of the respectable Christchurch man who struck
his wife with his straightened coat-hanger over a 9-hour period, and
punched and kicked her head causing a perforated eardrum, because his
wife did not treat him with respect. Those sorts of examples cannot
be allowed to continue, and we believe that this legislation will
But I have to say that the Minister has been shoddy in his delay
in bringing this legislation forward. We saw in 1992 the 101
recommendations of the Victims Task Force report. We saw the report
in April 1993 of the crime prevention action group report. We saw in
October 1993 a discussion paper on the Domestic Protection Act, and
in April this year we saw Sir Ronald Davison’s inquiry into the very
sad case of the Bristol murder in Wanganui, where the man killed his
three daughters and then killed himself. We have seen plenty of
reports over this period of time, and it is shoddy that the Minister
has taken this length of time to come up with the legislation. All of
those reports recommended the sorts of changes we have seen here
I support the extension of the protection order that is provided
for in this Bill. It is good to see that abuse by a son against his
mother, or some other family abuse, can, in fact, mean that the
victim can obtain a protection order. It is good also that we are
moving against elder abuse—a phenomenon that is rather hidden in
our society, but which is certainly there. It is good to see that the
penalties for breaching those protection orders have been increased,
although I am sure there will be some debate about whether that is
high enough yet.
It is good that the custody and protection orders can be dealt
with at the same time, thereby recognising that domestic violence and
the issuing of custody of children to a violent partner is a fatal
mix, certainly well known as a result of the Bristol case in
Wanganui. It is good that we are dealing with that, and it is good
that a violent parent—for the protection of his or her
children—will no longer be able to receive custody of those
children. I found it rather curious that when a protection order is
given, in this Bill there is no provision for the automatic seizure
of firearms found by police in the home of a so-called violent
offender. I believe the automatic confiscation of those firearms
should be there. I hope that is something that can be changed in the
select committee.
I support the mechanism in the Bill for compulsory counselling. It
will provide one of the longer-term answers to the problems of abuse
and violence in our society. But I ask the Minister how that
compulsory counselling is going to be resourced when we know that the
existing provisions for counselling, and other forms of victim
support, are not being adequately resourced in our community. We all
know that the Men Against Violence group, for example, is now seeing
approximately 4,000 men a year and is helping them to stop their
violence, but it is not being adequately funded. From the statistics,
we know that the Men Against Violence group should be seeing
approximately 10,000 men per year in New Zealand. This is based on
the crimes they are committing. Yet they are not being adequately
funded for the 4,000 men it is seeing now.
We saw just today an article in the Dominion that states: “Cut
threatens sex offender treatment programme”. We know that Women’s
Refuge has received only one increase in funding since this
Government has been in power. From my Wellington experience I know
that the Wellington refuge, for example, is possibly facing closure
because of a lack of funding. We know also that the Young Women’s
Christian Association self-defence programme is not being funded by
the Government when it should be. There are many areas and groups
that deal with victims of violence and that try to stop violent
offenders. All of those need adequate resourcing. The Minister has
been very silent about how he will resource them. It is all very well
to pass good legislation, but if it is not going to be funded to be
able to work adequately, then we are still not dealing with the
problems in our society. I hope that the next Government Budget will
adequately fund the provisions that this legislation is making
available. We do support the Bill. It has been a long time coming,
but we are pleased to see it, and we hope that it is successful.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – JUDITH TIZARD

JUDITH TIZARD (Panmure): I rise with a great deal of pleasure to
greet the introduction of the Domestic Violence Bill. It has been a
long time coming. What we are seeing tonight is legislation that we
have waited for for too long. The funding issues will be paramount to
the Opposition.
We have a choice in New Zealand. We can choose either to fund the
consequences of violence or we can choose to do what we can to fund
programmes that will stop violence in this country. We have to do
both of those things in the meantime. But I want a commitment from
this Government to recognise that the estimated 80 percent of violent
acts in this country that are domestic have to be addressed
seriously. We do not need the sort of attitudes that we have seen in
the past in the Government, in which we have been told that domestic
violence is not a serious issue.
In 1987 we had the Roper report on violence. We have had the
Victims Task Force, which was set up to look into the issues of
domestic violence, particularly violence against women and children.
It reported in 1992. We have now waited until 1 December 1994 to see
those issues being addressed.
This Bill is a vast improvement on the legislation we had before.
I acknowledge all the women—all the people in New Zealand—who
have played a part in getting this legislation here. I want to
acknowledge the Labour women who have, since 1982, been agitating in
relation to this issue. I pay particular credit to the member for
Southern Maori, who has worked long and hard on this issue. She has
acknowledged the problems that are facing all New Zealanders and she
has acknowledged the problems that are facing Maori in particular.
She has been a leader amongst us on this issue.
I pay tribute to the Leader of the Opposition. She was on the
Statutes Revision Committee in 1982 and she has had a major role in
making that legislation work as well as it did for 12 years. I
particularly want to pay tribute to all those women in the community
who, over the years, have said that this is an issue that is “not
just a domestic”. I pay tribute to the police, who have finally
taken this issue seriously.
I come back to the fact that 80 percent of the violence in our
community is domestic. These are people in families and in
neighbourhoods who take revenge. They take out on each other their
bad temper, their lack of ability to negotiate, and their lack of
ability to be kind to each other. In 1993, almost every month a woman
was murdered by her husband or her ex-husband. It is too many. We in
the Labour Party have been asking how many more women and children
must die before this Parliament gets the law right. How many women
and children must die before this Parliament gives the police and the
courts the power to deal with domestic violence? Women and children
are paying the price. This legislation should be working for them.
I am delighted to see the extending of the range of people who can
apply for a protection order to include people who are in homosexual,
heterosexual, married or de facto relationships. It has been extended
to family members, to people who are normally in a household, and to
people with whom there is a close relationship. However, I have to
ask what this Bill does about stalking. Stalking is a serious problem
in our community.
Hon. Katherine O’Regan: It is probably a Crimes Act amendment.
JUDITH TIZARD: I am afraid it probably is not to do with the
Crimes Act. Where there are threats to somebody who has identified
the person who is threatening to attack them, that should be dealt
with in terms of a relationship. It is often an imagined
relationship. I have received from the member for Porirua an example
of a young woman who has been stalked remorselessly for several years
by the uncle of a school friend. Stalking is a serious problem in
this community and I believe that it should be dealt with in this
I am delighted to see that the definition of “domestic violence”
is widened to include physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological
abuse such as intimidation, harassment, and damage to property. Women
should not have to prove they have been attacked before they can get
protection from threats. There are many women who live lives of
subjection and terror. They have been threatened but they have not
been subjected to violence until the crisis comes.
I am delighted to see that we will now have—rather than the
technicality of whether one gets a non-molestation order or a
non-violence order or a trespass order—only one protection order. I
am pleased that that protection order will automatically benefit any
child of the applicant’s family and other people that the applicant
has a domestic relationship with. It is important that protection
orders can be taken out on behalf of people who are incapable of
doing so themselves. For example, these could be for children or for
people who have disabilities.
The counselling option provision is a very valuable one. We have
to consider very carefully whether counselling is being used in some
violent relationships to perpetuate the violence. That counselling
should be about empowering people and not about perpetuating their
There are many other issues such as the custody issue, the bail
issue, and particularly the legal aid issue, that need to be dealt
with. But I come to what the Opposition is concerned about. This Bill
must be given the widest airing. It must be talked about in the
community. It must be known of by people who need it. They must be
able to make submissions on it.
The privacy provisions that have applied in family court hearings
and in family issues generally, must not be used against the victims.
They must be used to protect them and only when it is absolutely
We are concerned that in the past the Government has not proved to
be willing to put the funding in. We are concerned that the
Government addresses not only the issues in this Bill but also the
absolutely major issue of preventing violence in this community.
Where are the programmes to train young people in assertion? Where
are the programmes in the schools to teach young people to look after
themselves? These are the ones that are being cut out in my
community. Where are the self-defence courses? Where is the funding
for women’s refuge? Where is the funding for prevention programmes
like the Hamilton abuse intervention programme to be extended through
the rest of the country?
This Government has spent a lot of time telling us how wonderful
Kia Marama is. It is the one model we have of changing people’s
behaviour. If we could have programmes of a similar type to Kia
Marama for people who were starting out on a pattern of violence and
abuse we might be able to save the next generation.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – ROBERT ANDERSON

ROBERT ANDERSON (Kaimai): I welcome this Bill and thank the
Minister for having introduced it. We have to address a problem that
is caused mainly by men. I agree with the previous speaker that the
Bill gives us the opportunity to ensure that this topic is widely
debated in the community. Probably the greatest cause of domestic and
family violence in all its forms is ignorance.
Lianne Dalziel: No, that has nothing to do with it.
ROBERT ANDERSON: Well, that is my view. I believe that the
attitude of our people must change. It is up to Parliament to take
the initiative and the lead by giving this issue publicity that is as
wide as possible and by encouraging submissions from the community.
We have some attitudes that prevail in our country, such as
domestic violence, drunk and drugged drivers, and dangerous
chauvinistic driving. People of criminal intention have a lot in
common. I would hope that we have statistics on this information. If
not, we should set about setting up a system to acquire that
information. It is important for us to know who these people are who
commit family and domestic violence. We need to be able to have a
character model of who they are. For instance, do we currently match
up the information on people who commit this sort of violence on
whether it is alcohol or drug related, whether they have an ability
to read or write, or whether they have a previous criminal record? I
think that to do that would lead to a better understanding of the
problem and how it should be addressed.
Lianne Dalziel: It doesn’t work that way, I’m sorry.
ROBERT ANDERSON: The member may have that point of view. I have a
different point of view. I am taking the opportunity in the Chamber
tonight of saying what I believe quite genuinely and I am making my
small contribution on this matter.
I think the situation is a sad indictment on our country and
mostly on the attitude of our male population. We still have a
chauvinistic attitude that is far too great. I am not sure that any
one person has the answer for what the cures are. But I think if we
can find out who this person is, and when we have some statistical
information, there may be a number of—
Lianne Dalziel: It’s one’s next door neighbour; it’s one’s uncle;
it’s one’s brother. It’s everyone. It’s right across the board.
ROBERT ANDERSON: Maybe it is, but I am not sure that I am prepared
to take the member’s word for that because she is not producing the
information. I want to ensure that there is more statistical
information to get a description of this person, so that the
solutions—and, if the member likes to add to it, the
punishment—can fit the crime. For instance, if somebody was found
guilty of domestic or family violence and had a drink problem, that
person would need to be treated quite differently from somebody who
had a reading and writing problem.
I feel very strongly that in its broadest terms this issue relates
to ignorance, and one has to overcome that ignorance in a number of
different ways. If a number of people are involved with family
violence, perhaps through frustration or lack of education, we need
to do something about it. It is not necessarily the answer to send
people to jail but they may be required to attend some basic
education programme, which may be for a 2-year period. It is like
sending them back to school. I do not think that a short course of 2
weeks or 3 months is sufficient. These people need to be bound over;
they need to be educated in whatever the base cause is of their
frustration and the reason they commit family violence.
I would suggest to the select committee that hears this Bill and
the evidence on it that it looks at the causes. If the information is
not available it should try to ensure that better statistical
information is kept in the future so that we have a better idea of
how to tackle this problem. This would lead to its reduction and
hopefully before too long stamp it out completely.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – LIANNE DALZIEL

LIANNE DALZIEL (Christchurch Central): I acknowledge that the
speaker who has just resumed his seat has spoken with a genuine
concern about the issue. However, we have had a number of reports
about domestic violence. One of the problems is there seems to be a
view that there is a stereotype that we can attach to domestic
violence. The reality is that domestic violence cannot be attached to
one particular group of people because it happens across all strata
of our society. It happens in the streets of Fendalton, of Remuera,
and in the streets of Linwood, of Ponsonby, or whatever, and in every
place in between. There is nothing that we can draw from all the
examples except that an underlying issue relates to power and
The power and control that men wish in a particular instance to
exercise over women may be exacerbated by alcohol but is not caused
by it. That message has certainly come through in all the literature
that I have read. This Bill has been a very long time in coming to
this House. I have followed this issue very closely since being
elected to Parliament in 1990. It was not very long after that we
were aware the Victims Task Force had picked this up as an issue and
had decided to commission a report from a group of people in Waikato.
They were Ruth Busch, Neville Robertson, and Hilary Lapsley.
I want to pay tribute to those three people in this House tonight.
They put their hearts and souls into this report. I do commend it to
the member who spoke before. I hope that he reads it. I commend to
him that he read the original report, not the somewhat expurgated
version released by the Victims Task Force on the instruction of the
Department of Justice. I commend the original report to the
member—all the language is there, along with all the explanations
about some of the issues that are causing domestic violence in our
One of the problems that I have about the timing of this
introduction is that we have been in urgency now for 3 days. We are
only 3 weeks from Christmas. This Bill will not operate to protect
those women who will find out this Christmas that home is where the
hurt is. It will not protect them. It is too late for them. There
will be extra people hurt this Christmas. The stresses and strains of
Christmas are a particular concern. We all know that violence
increases round these times. We know that people will be struggling
to put the basics on the dinner table on Christmas Day—let alone
something special or a little bit extra. The pressure that that puts
on individual families is unbelievable. I do not think that any
member in this House can fully understand the pressure that is
brought to bear on families in this, the Year of the Family. As we
leave the Year of the Family, we will see families torn apart.
When Ruth Busch, Neville Robertson, and Hilary Lapsley undertook
their task they set out to examine continuing breaches of
non-violence orders with a view to improving the protection that was
offered to victims. Their terms of reference included the victims’
experiences of abuse, the response of police to reported domestic
assaults, the process of applying for protection orders, and the
enforcement of those orders by the police and the criminal courts.
They called the report Domestic Violence and the Justice System. The
name was changed to Protection from Family Violence. When they said
“domestic violence and the justice system”, they were challenging
the justice system to respond to the domestic violence.
The names of the judges were omitted from the report. Details were
suppressed, and information contained in the report was editorialised
by the department. I shall give an example. On page 54 of the
original report there is a discussion about Pam, who is seeking a
protection order. It states: “Pam went before an elderly male judge
who read her affidavit and said to her: `No one can live under those
circumstances. It has got to be lies.’ It was only after Pam lost
control, cried, and shook, which she said was a typical, helpless,
female response, that he seemed to believe her.” The original report
was relating the experience of a woman standing before a family court
judge. Guess how it came out in the final version! “Pam appeared
before an elderly male judge and was able eventually to convince him
that her need for a non-molestation order was genuine.” Does that
give members any information about her experience? No, it does not.
That was the kind of thing that happened throughout this report.
I will give another example. “Maureen expressed great distress in
having to attend further counselling and felt this was a form of
harassment by her husband. She wishes to make it clear that she is
extremely fearful of him and is very much opposed to any direct
contact with him, or any consideration of removal of the
non-molestation order that is in effect. Maureen stresses that there
are no issues to be discussed with her husband and does not want to
entertain any ideas of reconciliation.” That sends a very strong
message about how Maureen felt. The report was editorialised to:
“The family court judge declined to discharge the non-molestation
order.” So what happened to this report was most unfortunate in
terms of the process. It certainly considerably delayed the release
of the report.
I wanted to speak briefly on this Bill because I feel this is a
public health issue. Domestic violence is a public health issue.
Domestic violence is different from what occurs outside the home only
because it is perpetrated by people whom one knows, trusts, and, so
often, has loved—and still loves, in some cases. Therefore, it is a
betrayal that nobody can understand except the person who is
experiencing it. I feel very strongly that we as a Parliament must
act very firmly on this issue. We must provide the best laws that
provide the best protection to ensure that the public health of New
Zealand is protected, and to ensure that women are protected from the
emotional, mental, physical, and sexual violence that is perpetrated
against them every single day.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – SANDRA LEE

SANDRA LEE (Auckland Central): I shall speak briefly on this issue
and endorse many of the comments made in the House this evening,
particularly by the Labour Opposition women. The Alliance welcomes
this Bill. I am really moved to speak in response to my colleague on
the left who made the point that what is required in order to address
this issue is more statistical evidence. I tell that earlier speaker
that in fact there is no shortage in this country of all the
statistical information necessary to confirm clearly the reality of
the situation for women. This matter has been inadequately addressed
by Parliament, by Governments, by law enforcement agencies, and the
like for too long.
If anybody is left in any doubt about the statistics and the
degree to which abuse of women occurs in New Zealand society today
they simply have to look at the number of non-molestation
orders—ineffective as they have been over the years—that are
issued on an annual basis. They simply need to look at the annual
court records of this country to know the statistical reality of the
plight of women in this country when it comes to domestic violence.
What is required—and this Bill provides a key—is for society and
this Parliament to send a clear message that we are no longer
prepared to turn a blind eye or to take an ambivalent view towards
those who perpetrate domestic violence in society.
Since I have had the privilege of becoming an MP I have had to
deal with two particular cases that I honestly would not have
believed would be able to occur until I witnessed them and was able
to research and confirm the facts for myself. One case was of a woman
who was stalked by a former husband. She had little or no support,
and her life ultimately became so wretched that she took it as she
felt that that was the only way left open to her. My research, the
family’s research, and, indeed, the police’s research showed that she
tried every legal avenue open to her to get on with her life and to
live with her children, and it was not made possible for her. We did
not protect her, and the only course she had left was to take her own
Another case that came before me was of a woman, a good mum, a
solo mum on her own, who had removed herself from a violent
situation. The court took the custody of her child from her when she
refused to take her child to her former partner for his weekend
visitation right, because the last time she had done that he had
thrown a brick through her car window. It is interesting to note that
the police failed to deal with the incident of the brick through the
window, but three of them were able to go to her home and to remove
the child from her. I found it hard to believe that that sort of
thing occurred in New Zealand society. I rang this woman’s lawyer and
said: “Am I being told all the story here?”. The reality was that
it was true.
What we are effectively saying to women like the two in the cases
I have just spoken of, and others that we have heard of this evening,
is that it is OK when it happens to women; it is OK when it is
domestic and it happens behind closed doors. If it happens in Queen
Street at Christmas time, somebody is expected to deal with it; we
frown upon that sort of behaviour. But if it happens to a woman in
her home behind closed doors, it is all on—the OK Corral is OK with
us. That is not acceptable. This legislation offers an opportunity to
do something about that, and I welcome it.
I would like to address the issue of resources. The women’s refuge
movement, those who give rape crisis counselling in this country, and
the domestic violence centres have suffered incredibly, particularly
over the last few years, as a result of their resources being cut
back. Alongside their resources, their national funding sources,
being cut back they have also been faced with issues such as
ever-increasing rate rises—in the case of the rape crisis
counselling centres in Auckland—and the like. They are struggling
to continue to provide their much-needed service. If we are, through
this Bill, to make a commitment in terms of recognising that domestic
violence is unacceptable, we also have to accept the responsibility
of making a financial commitment to provide resources that will
enable those organisations and agencies that have been working in
this field to carry out their job and to carry it out effectively.
I would like to comment on a point that was made earlier that
there are men in this situation, too. That is true. They are by far
the minority, but having said that I do think we have to be mindful
that there are isolated incidents of men being the victims of violent
abuse. If we tend to assume that those cases do not occur we are in
danger of making it even harder for people in that circumstance to
come out. In fact, in doing that we are just perpetrating the myth
that has created many of the problems women have had to endure for so
long in that men who are the victims of domestic abuse may not admit
it because it is not macho to do so. It is OK and macho to be a
perpetrator, but it is not macho and not OK to be a victim. I think
we do need to recognise that there are men in that situation, but, as
I say, they are by far in the minority.
Any legislation that advantages women and provides them with more
protection is welcomed by the Alliance. We talk about the Year of the
Family. The very first thing we should do in any Year of the Family
is to make those who give the nurturing—particularly the

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – JILL PETTIS

JILL PETTIS (Wanganui): I am very pleased to support the
introduction of this Bill. We have waited a long, long time, and,
while I am pleased that this Bill has finally been introduced, I am
saddened that women and children have paid the price of the
procrastination and inexcusable delay; those women and children have
suffered unnecessarily. While I welcome the introduction of the Bill,
I want to pause and reflect on the fact that a very large price has
been paid.
First, I congratulate and sincerely acknowledge the huge
contribution that has been made by the many women who have lobbied
strongly for the introduction of this Bill. I commend the member for
Auckland Central—I certainly endorse what she has said—and my
other Labour colleagues who have also supported and worked
strenuously towards the introduction of the Bill through their
constant and sincere lobbying. I also acknowledge the very large and
public contribution that the New Zealand Police has made in bringing
the issue of domestic violence to public notice.
It is almost OK now to talk about domestic violence whereas once
upon a time it was spoken about only by women in women’s groups. We
talked about it, but I certainly do not think it was an issue that
the majority of men ever talked about openly. I sincerely commend the
police for their promotion of the Not Just a Domestic programme. Next
week another issue will be shown on New Zealand television screens.
That will bring a lot of emotion to the fore, especially for those
people who have been victims, but it is an excellent idea and I
certainly support it.
Since the Not Just a Domestic programme first screened earlier in
the year, there has been an increase in the reporting of domestic
violence. I know that in my own area of Wanganui, where a tragic case
occurred earlier this year, the reporting of domestic violence
certainly has increased. The women who work at our local women’s and
children’s shelter have said that the increase did not necessarily
mean anything in particular, it was just the tip of the iceberg, and
the police are most certainly treating family violence with much more
conviction. This, of course, gives women confidence to report
incidents of domestic violence, and that is a good thing.
I too share the concerns that other people have expressed tonight
about the issue of funding. I have been a volunteer worker for the
women’s refuge in Wanganui and I have gone out late at night and in
the early hours of the morning when women have rung in to report that
they are victims of violence, and are seeking refuge—in the truest
sense of the word—from the violence they have experienced within
recent hours and in many cases, of course, for months and years
beforehand. It is a traumatic experience to go and assist a stranger
because in many cases we do not know the women who present
themselves, seeking refuge for the evening.
I want to share an instance of one night when I went out. My
daughter, who would have been about 16 at the time, knew that I was
going out and I wanted the family to know where I was going at that
late hour. I arrived home about 3 hours later, and at that stage it
was the early hours of the morning. It was a school night and my
daughter was wide awake and called out “Mum”. I went in to see her
and said: “Goodness me, you should have been asleep hours ago.” She
had been lying awake for about 3 1/2 hours, waiting for me to come
home. My daughter is one of the fortunate young women in New Zealand
in that she has not experienced domestic violence. I am lucky. My
husband does not beat me, so my daughter has not had to experience
that. But she was very emotionally upset that mum was going out to
help a woman who had been severely beaten.
I mention that not to reveal anything about myself especially or
because I am particularly interesting to anybody but because I want
to draw attention to the effect domestic violence has on children. I
welcome the widening of the definition of domestic violence in that
psychological abuse is included. Many people do not recognise the
effect psychological abuse has on the victim. I experienced, as I
have just told the House, the effect it had on my daughter. We cannot
hope to imagine the effect it has on children who live in homes where
they constantly experience their mother being beaten by their father,
whom they love. Children love their fathers. What must it do to them
to see their father beating their mother, whom they also love?
Recently we saw on television about cases in America in which the
children of women who were the victims of violence had become violent
themselves against their father. That is just perpetuating a vicious
My speech tonight is tinged with sadness, because as a woman I
empathise considerably with those families who have been victims of
domestic violence. Of course, the very public and tragic incident
that occurred in the Wanganui electorate earlier this year, involving
the tragic loss of three innocent young children, once again brought
the incidence of domestic violence very much to the fore. We all
regret that it took such a serious incident to hurry up this Bill.
Although I have spoken positively and have welcomed many of the
aspects of this Bill, I have serious concerns about some issues. One
of those issues is the lack of adequate resources.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – JOHN CARTER

JOHN CARTER (Senior Government Whip): I understand that the Labour
Opposition has two members who wish to speak but that there is not
enough time remaining. I seek the leave of the House to allow two
more speeches from the Labour Opposition, each speech to be of a
duration of 7 1/2 minutes.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any
objection? There appears to be none.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – DIANNE YATES

DIANNE YATES (Hamilton East): I am proud to speak on the
introduction of the Domestic Violence Bill this evening, and I wish
to thank the Minister of Justice for introducing it. I know we have
given him a particularly hard time over it for a number of months. I
also wish to thank my Labour women colleagues—in the spirit of the
mixed-member proportional representation system it is good to have 14
colleagues in this House, and I hope we can maintain that
number—because I think we are largely responsible for the
background work that has gone on behind this Bill.
The Bill is about something all too common in this country, and
that is the crime—and it is a crime—that is acknowledged as
“giving the wife and kids a hiding”, and that hiding often becomes
a fatal hiding.
I wish at the outset to thank, firstly, the Leader of the
Opposition, a Labour woman who did the initial work on the Domestic
Protection Act and a lot of work in the select committee, and that
was recognised by the news media at the time. We are now working on
an extension, basically, of that Act, and bringing it up to date to
deal with the problems we have in our society at the moment.
I also want to thank particularly three of my constituents, three
people who have done a tremendous job, a very devoted job, in the
groundwork for this particular Bill—that is, the three researchers
from the University of Waikato. I am proud of those people and proud
of that university. They wrote the 1992 Victims Task Force
report—the report I have brought to this House and waved around
with much pride, and I will do so again tonight because now we are
actually implementing in this Bill many of their 101 recommendations.
The three researchers are Ruth Busch, Neville Robertson, and
Hilary Lapsley, and I will single out Ruth Busch because not only did
she do a lot of the work but she also publicised much of the material
that is in that report. They saw through what was an intellectually
and emotionally draining task. I know these people personally, I know
how difficult the research was, and I know that they—as some of my
colleagues said—put their heart and soul into it. They also put in
a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I will also say that it was this
report that Sir Ronald Davison quoted almost word for word in his
I also wish to thank the brave women who allowed themselves to be
interviewed for the report, and I particularly pay tribute to those
women and children, as my colleague from Wanganui has said, who have
been killed during and since the writing of that report. I apologise
that I did not nag the Minister harder and longer and with more
intensity that we did not have this legislation sooner than we have
it now.
I wish to thank also the people who work with the Hamilton abuse
intervention pilot programme. Those workers have been part of an
integrated and holistic scheme that integrates community groups to
deal with this problem of domestic violence. Once again, like my
colleagues, I ask that we continue the resources for such
organisations and that this pilot programme or similar programmes be
repeated throughout New Zealand to deal with this problem of domestic
violence not afterwards but to intervene wherever possible. As the
member of Parliament for Hamilton East I am proud to know these
people, and I am proud to be at the introduction of what I basically
consider is their Bill. They did most of the work for this.
I also wish to thank the police, as has my colleague from
Wanganui. I want to thank the police in Hamilton because, once again,
they have set an example and led the way, and I thank the police
nationally for the changes they have already made, for the changes in
their attitude, for the changes in the way they now apply present
laws, and for the way they have introduced those excellent Not Just a
Domestic programmes on television. I would like to say they are
effective, that in Hamilton we had fewer phone calls, when their
programme was shown and the 0800 number was given, than in other
places because the programme existed and had been operating for some
I would also like to look at specifics in this Bill. I am pleased
that it widens the definition of what a domestic situation is. I am
pleased that it includes children to a far wider extent, and I also
mention that some people are not happy with the word “domestic”,
and that, in a sense, is an offence. An assault is an assault whether
it is an assault in the street, an assault in the kitchen, or an
assault in the bedroom, it is still an assault and deserves the
penalties for an assault, and I would like the select committee to
look at the penalties that are involved in this particular Bill.
I am also pleased that non-molestation and non-violence orders
become one—protection orders—and that we really do, at last,
start to address and recognise the problems of the victims, to look
at it from a victim’s view and from a victim’s fears. I hope the
select committee will look at the possibility of including stalking
in clause 17. I do see that there is room to include it there because
the clause does talk about following, hounding, watching, and
loitering. I am sure that we could include stalking in that.
I am pleased that custody for children has been addressed. I would
hope that we look at a really serious problem on which a
recommendation was made initially in the Bill, and that is that—in
recognising the paramountcy and safety of children—we look at a
safe place for what is a problem for a number of parents, which is in
the access situation when children are handed from one parent to
another. There should be a safe place where that can happen because
it is a problem that happens almost every Friday night in New
Zealand. We need to look at that problem of access and supervised
Once again, I would mention the problem of education and the
problem of education of everyone involved in this, not only the
people who are perpetrating the crime but also to remind people that
the original report did have in it some problems with older men
called judges, and their attitudes. It is a matter not only of
education of the people who are perpetrating these particular crimes,
but also of the people who are imposing the sentences and of their
attitudes. I would ask people, especially the select committee, to
look at the report and the original report.
I am particularly concerned, as the Minister has mentioned in
introducing the Bill, about clause 33, the power to arrest for breach
of a protection order, and, as he has suggested, I think the select
committee should look at whether this should be mandatory. Also
missing from the Bill is reference to access to information in many
languages and to interpreters, and I would ask that the select
committee look at this Bill being made user-friendly to all people in
New Zealand and that we look at all information that is available,
and that we also look at translation for those people who are
victims. Often, as we have seen on television, it is people who are
not English-speaking who are involved.

Hansard – Stage: INTRODUCTION – 29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – Hon. Mrs T W M TIRIKATENE-SULLIVAN

Hon. Mrs T W M TIRIKATENE-SULLIVAN (Southern Maori): I join with
the other members of this House who have expressed delight that this
Bill has finally come to this House and will now go to a select
committee. I believe that, in the select committee, some aspects will
be added to the Bill in order to sharpen its focus and to improve its
effect. I, too, believe that the seizure of firearms not being made
automatic in this legislation ought to be looked at, and also that
stalking should be made an offence under clause 17, which appears to
be the appropriate clause for it.
I want especially to commend those who are approved as
counsellors, who include people who have not normally been officially
approved in this area, yet whose expertise is unique. I speak of
Aroha Terry of Hamilton, Te Whare Manaki of Napier, and Mereana
Pitman, whose counselling in this area is so effective because they
bring unique skills.
Yet these women and others like them, with their unique skills and
effective application, have not been recognised officially as
counsellors. I believe they ought to be. There is a crying need for
them, and no doubt that will be an obvious effect that should follow
from the implementation of this Bill. It will be enhanced in the
select committee, and I will be ensuring they come before the
committee to point out something of their unique expertise. If all
the counselling is not effective, then it is a waste. Yet we can have
people of rare expertise bringing about change—in a way shaming men
who are violators, shaming them to confront in the mirror the reality
of the puny aspects of their character and make a change. I have seen
the work of these women. It is so important because they reach a
significant section of the abusers.
I want to say, as I have said in the House before, that the first
battered wives group that was ever established in this country was
established for women to protect women who were battered wives. We
have taken a step in this Bill. We will improve the Bill somewhat in
the select committee, and thousands of women in this country will be
It is an extraordinarily sad fact, which we do not wish to
acknowledge, that we have a high rate of reported domestic violence
in New Zealand. I believe that for the past 20 years the extent of
the reporting of domestic violence has increased because of the power
of women—and the women’s movement—who have sought to shine a
light on these occurrences. As I said, it was over 20 years ago when
we set up the first such group. It was set up in Canterbury and I
want to acknowledge husband and wife Dr Church and Dr Doris Church,
who worked with me and Sister Pauline O’Regan in setting that up. I
think people were horrified that we established any such group, but
later this country was to acknowledge that domestic violence has been
occurring for decades.
The voice of women was strengthened and united from the first
United Nations “Decade for Women”, at which I led the New Zealand
group, and we discussed this issue—without focusing particularly on
our country. But we did introduce a concern about this matter and,
because of the preparedness of women in unity to discuss these
matters, we have had a greater acknowledgment.
I want to say to the Minister that I believe there is a crying
need for more women to be judges in the family court. We need women
who are experienced in family life. We do not have many women judges,
yet it is so obviously a place for more women and for women who have
had some experience in rearing a family, in living in a family, and
in knowing what it is to settle problems in a family in an amicable
or, at least, a civilised way.
It is hard to describe the characteristics of men who batter
wives, and I am speaking of men, since the majority of people who
batter wives and intimidate children are men. It is hard to pinpoint
their reasons. It has been said it is a striving to exert power—to
exert control. I believe it is an expression of pride in its worst
sense but it is also possessiveness—a sense of possessing
individuals, which, of course, is an invalid approach to any human
New Zealand happens to have one of the highest rates of offending
in the Western World—in the 24 OECD countries. Without confronting
the issue, we are blinding ourselves to the situation. The suggestion
of statistics and a database was put forward. We have all the facts
and figures, but we still have not pinpointed why it is that New
Zealand men do this. Professor James Ritchie and Dr Jane Ritchie have
suggested that the machismo element, which is held aloft in this
country as the ideal standard for men, is one of the reasons that we
venerate violence in socially acceptable situations—such as on the
rugby field. I do not know. I think there are many other reasons.
I believe the home of a wife-batterer is a therapy clinic. Within
the four walls of the home the batterers use battering as therapy
because, generally, they are gutless people who lack any strength of
character. They cannot bear to be exposed, so it happens for them
within the four walls of their home. As I said, it is their therapy
clinic and everyone in that home is at risk—the wife, the children;
everyone is at risk. I believe, also, that we will find evidence that
pornographic videos are also an inspiration to men to expect what
they see to happen. But it is unreal. Since the wife cannot deliver
such titillation, she is abused. Such men often abuse their
daughters, and this is totally unacceptable. Thank goodness we have
the Bill.

Hansard – Stage: Stage>INTRODUCTION – Date>29 NOV 1994
Main speaker – Speaker>Hon. D A M GRAHAM

Hon. D A M GRAHAM (Minister of Justice): In reply, I thank those
who have taken part in the debate. I think there have been very
useful contributions and I have taken on board some of the comments
made, in particular about funding. Of course it is a matter of trying
to put the resources where they are best placed. I know, for example,
that only 2 years ago victim support funding was about $330,000. It
is a little over $900,000 this year. We have the Hamilton abuse
intervention pilot programme and all the other programmes. As fast as
we pay for one, another one comes along. And the demand is almost
insatiable. So one has to do the best one can. The Government will
certainly give that matter due consideration during the Budget round.
The other point that was made related to firearms and I think
there is a lot of merit in that. Under the Bill, the making of a
protection order requires the registrar to advise the district
commissioner of police, who, in turn, has to advise the local police
station, which is then required to check whether there is a firearms
licence, decide whether they should revoke that licence, and seize
the firearms. It may be that the select committee thinks that does
not go quite far enough and there might need to be an automatic
seizure. But, on the other hand, that does take a lot of police
resources, which may or may not be necessary. However, let us see
what the select committee comes up with.
The other matter related to the issue of stalking. That issue is
under review. I received a report from the department about it just
yesterday, and further work is being done. Of course, stalking can be
done by anybody—it is not necessarily a domestic situation of any
kind. It can be a total stranger, and that is why it is probably
better placed in the crimes legislation, rather than in the domestic
violence legislation. It does not matter where it is placed, as long
as it is there. But the matter is quite complex and we are looking at
it now. I expect another report shortly after Christmas as further
work is done.
The other point that was made by the honourable member for
Southern Maori was about women judges in the family court. I agree
with that. I think she will find that more women judges have been
appointed in the last 2 or 3 years. I think it is desirable to have a
proper balance of highly qualified judicial officers in the family
court, and that approach will be continued.
That is really all I wish to say at this stage. I thank members
and my officials for their work on the Bill. It has taken longer than
is desirable, but then so did the Bill on DNA, the Bill on sex tours
of Asia, the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No. 3), the
Copyright Bill, and a number of other Bills that were dealt with just
this week.
Bill introduced and read a first time, and referred to the Justice
and Law Reform Committee.

1994_11_30 question Domestic Violence

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>06 Dec 1994
Title>Domestic Violence—Police Complaints
Question speaker – Speaker>GEORGE HAWKINS
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JOHN LUXTON
Question No – Question>7866

GEORGE HAWKINS (Manurewa) to the Minister of Police: What
reports, if any, has he received on the incidence of police complaints arising
from the new police policy against family violence?


Hon JOHN LUXTON (Minister of Police) replied: Recording of
complaints arising from the attendance of police at family violence
incidents commenced in April 1994 since which date complaints arising
from eight incidents have been received. There is no evidence to
indicate that these complaints arose from the new policy.
Investigations have been completed into seven complaints, with only
one being upheld.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>06 Dec 1994
Title>Domestic Violence—Investigation Practices
Question speaker – Speaker>GEORGE HAWKINS
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JOHN LUXTON
Question No – Question>7865

GEORGE HAWKINS (Manurewa) to the Minister of Police: What
is the police strategy, if any, to minimise the tendency noted by the Police
Complaints Authority “to divert onto the actions of the Police the grievances
and frustrations often felt by those caught up in situations of domestic
discord or violence”?


Hon JOHN LUXTON (Minister of Police) replied: The Police strategy
consists of a policy document on family violence which provides
guidelines to officer’s regarding investigation practices, support
for victims, the multi-agency approach, relevant law, reporting
procedures and the court case disposition. In addition, officers
receive training to ensure they have the necessary skills to deal
with situations involving family violence. It is considered this
training and the guidelines are highly successful.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>01 Dec 1994
Title>Publications—The Protection for Family Violence
Question speaker – Speaker>JIM ANDERTON
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon D A M GRAHAM
Question No – Question>7742

JIM ANDERTON (Sydenham) to the Minister of Justice: Which
of the recommendations of the 1992 report on The Protection for Family
Violence have been implemented?


Hon D A M GRAHAM (Minister of Justice) replied: I refer to my
answer to question for written answer 5319 in which I set out the
current status of all the recommendations in the 1992 report. My
department has put the recommendations into a series of broad
categories. However, because some recommendations comprise several
proposals or are framed in broad or comparative terms, their
classification is approximate only. The following recommendations
have been classified as `implemented’ (that is, current policy and
practice are in line with the recommendation but remain subject to
ongoing monitoring):
The Police: 1, 4, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17.
The Family Court: 10, 14, 23, 37, 46, 47, 51, 52.
Family Court Counselling: 2, 10.
The Criminal Courts: 10.
A further 29 recommendations are addressed in substance in the
Domestic Violence Bill which was introduced last week.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>30 Nov 1994
Title>Police—Domestic Violence
Question speaker – Speaker>GEORGE HAWKINS
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JOHN LUXTON
Question No – Question>7650

GEORGE HAWKINS (Manurewa) to the Minister of Police: What
special squads, if any, will be operating over the Christmas period to deal
with family violence?


Hon JOHN LUXTON (Minister of Police) replied: Adequate police will
be available to deal with offences and incidents, including family
violence. To establish special squads at Christmas would be
counterproductive and an inappropriate use of police resources.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>30 Nov 1994
Title>Domestic Violence—Christmas
Question speaker – Speaker>GEORGE HAWKINS
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JOHN LUXTON
Question No – Question>7642

GEORGE HAWKINS (Manurewa) to the Minister of Police: What
forecasts, if any, has he received of the level of family violence over the
Christmas period?


Hon JOHN LUXTON (Minister of Police) replied: No specific forecasts
have been provided as the level of family violence can fluctuate
depending on which part of the Christmas period is involved. I am
advised that adequate police coverage will be available to deal with
offences and incidents involving family violence.

1995_04_30 question in house Elizabeth Tennet

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>05 Apr 1995
Title>Domestic Violence Bill
Question speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon PETER GRESHAM
Question No – Question>2119

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister of Social
Welfare: What is the current budgetary allocation, if any, for his
department for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill, how is that
allocation being used, if no allocation has been made, is consideration being
given to allocating funds in the next financial year; if not, why not?


Hon PETER GRESHAM (Minister of Social Welfare) replied: The
Domestic Protection Act 1982 is administered by the Department of
Justice. That Act will be replaced by the Domestic Violence Bill,
once enacted. The budget allocation for the implementation of the
Domestic Violence Bill will be a Vote: Justice appropriation. No
specific budget allocation has been made in 1995-96 for the
implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill within the Department of
Social Welfare. Policy, programme, and funding issues arising from
the Domestic Violence Bill are currently being examined by the
Department of Justice in consultation with other Departments,
including the Department of Social Welfare.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>05 Apr 1995
Title>Domestic Violence Bill
Question speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JENNY SHIPLEY
Question No – Question>2118

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister of Health:
What is the current budgetary allocation, if any, for her ministry for the
implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill, how is that allocation being used,
if no allocation has been made, is consideration being given to allocating
funds in the next financial year; if not, why not?


Hon JENNY SHIPLEY (Minister of Health) replied: There is no current
budgetary allocation within Vote: Health for the implementation of
the Domestic Violence Bill.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>05 Apr 1995
Title>Domestic Violence Bill
Question speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon BRUCE CLIFFE
Question No – Question>2117

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister for Accident
Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance: What is the current budgetary
allocation, if any, for the Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance
Corporation for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill, how is that
allocation being used, if no allocation has been made, is consideration being
given to allocating funds in the next financial year; if not, why not?


Hon BRUCE CLIFFE (Minister for Accident Rehabilitation and
Compensation Insurance) replied: The Accident Rehabilitation and
Compensation Insurance Act 1992 already provides compensation to
survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. As the Domestic
Violence Bill does not affect cover or the range of entitlements, no
additional allocation of funds is required.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>05 Apr 1995
Title>Domestic Violence Bill
Question speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Rt Hon W F BIRCH
Question No – Question>2114

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister of Finance:
Has the Treasury carried out any costings on the Domestic Violence Bill; if so,
what do the costings show; if not, why not?


Rt Hon W F BIRCH (Minister of Finance) replied: Standard practice
for policy proposals or introducing legislation, is that the primary
policy adviser (including with respect to fiscal implications) is the
department of the relevant minister; i.e., the department of the
minister proposing the policy or introducing legislation. Treasury’s
role is to provide secondary advice in response to the relevant
minister’s proposal(s). The Department of Justice carried out
costings on the Domestic Violence Bill prior to the Minister of
Justice introducing the Bill to the House. Treasury did not initiate
costings of the Domestic Violence Bill. Rather, Treasury has provided
second opinion advice on the minister’s proposals, including the
fiscal implications.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>05 Apr 1995
Title>Domestic Violence Bill
Question speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JENNY SHIPLEY
Question No – Question>2113

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister of Women’s
Affairs: Has her ministry received any requests for advice from other
Government agencies on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill; if so,
which agencies sought advice, and what was the nature of the advice sought and


Hon JENNY SHIPLEY (Minister of Women’s Affairs) replied: The
Ministry of Women’s Affairs has recently been invited by the
Department of Justice to comment on the delivery of counselling and
programme services by the courts under the Domestic Violence Bill.
The Ministry will be providing comments in due course.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>05 Apr 1995
Title>Domestic Violence Bill
Question speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon D A M GRAHAM
Question No – Question>2111

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister of Justice:
In light of the restructuring of his department, can he guarantee continued
funding for the Domestic Violence Bill; if not, why not?


Hon D A M GRAHAM (Minister of Justice) replied: The restructuring
of the Department of Justice will not affect the provision of funding
for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill. Consideration
is currently being given to the allocation of additional funding for
implementation of the bill to the proposed Department for Courts, as
that department will be primarily responsible for operational aspects
of the new Act, including funding the provision of programmes.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>05 Apr 1995
Title>Domestic Violence Bill
Question speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon D A M GRAHAM
Question No – Question>2111

ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister of Justice:
In light of the restructuring of his department, can he guarantee continued
funding for the Domestic Violence Bill; if not, why not?


Hon D A M GRAHAM (Minister of Justice) replied: The restructuring
of the Department of Justice will not affect the provision of funding
for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill. Consideration
is currently being given to the allocation of additional funding for
implementation of the bill to the proposed Department for Courts, as
that department will be primarily responsible for operational aspects
of the new Act, including funding the provision of programmes.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>15 Mar 1995
Title>Domestic violence
Question speaker – Speaker>GEORGE HAWKINS
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JOHN LUXTON
Question No – Question>1222

GEORGE HAWKINS (Manurewa) to the Minister of Police: What
proportion of the 44 580 violent offences reported in 1994 do police estimate
were family-related, and what was the proportion in 1993?


Hon JOHN LUXTON (Minister of Police) replied: In 1986 the Roper
report indicated that up to 80 percent of violence was family
related. In the past there has been no clear definition of family
violence, but police are now endeavouring to gather data. At this
stage the programme is not sufficiently advanced, or the data
sufficiently detailed, for any estimate to be provided.

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>15 Mar 1995
Title>Police districts—Domestic violence
Question speaker – Speaker>GEORGE HAWKINS
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon JOHN LUXTON
Question No – Question>1221

GEORGE HAWKINS (Manurewa) to the Minister of Police: For
each police district, how many domestic disputes did police attend in each of
1993 and 1994, and in what proportion of cases were charges laid?


Hon JOHN LUXTON (Minister of Police) replied: The total domestic
disputes attended in 1993 and 1994, not resulting in charges being
laid, are set out in the schedule that follows. Domestic disputes
resulting in charges are recorded as offences. These are not
subdivided according to the relationship between the offenders and
victims, unless this is an essential element of the offence.
District 1993 1994
Northland .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 579 456
North Shore .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 728 610
Auckland Services .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 8 3
Waitakere .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 952 749
Auckland City .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2 470 2 427
Manukau .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1 859 1 566
Papakura .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1 070 1 030
Hamilton .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 792 517
Te Awamutu .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 419 275
Tokoroa .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 409 336
Tauranga .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 642 565
Rotorua .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 543 524
Gisborne .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 466 363
Napier .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 359 168
Hastings .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 421 424
Taranaki .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 617 410
Wanganui .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 696 492
Palmerston North .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1 092 649
Kapiti-Mana .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 706 598
Hutt .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1 451 1 224
Wellington .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 789 686
Nelson .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 652 396
Christchurch .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1 400 1 279
Canterbury Rural .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 191 162
South Canterbury .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 316 143
West Coast .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 185 126
Dunedin .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 417 207
Otago .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 252 197
Southland .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 527 374

Total .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 21 008 16 956

1995_05_30 question in house Elizabeth Tennet point scoring

Hansard – Stage: Stage>QUESTIONS ON NOTICE – Date>30 MAY 1995
Title>Domestic Violence—Budget
Main speaker – Speaker>ELIZABETH TENNET
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon. JENNY SHIPLEY
Question No – Question>7

Domestic Violence—Budget
7. ELIZABETH TENNET (Island Bay) to the Minister of Women’s
Affairs: Will the Budget address the problem of domestic violence and
other violence against women and children; if so, how?
Hon. JENNY SHIPLEY (Minister of Women’s Affairs): Far be it from
me to steal the thunder of the Minister of Finance on Budget night.
Elizabeth Tennet: Given that the Wellington Rape Crisis centre and
other Wellington sex abuse support agencies are broke and are working
with unpaid labour after Government cuts to their funding, how can
women feel any confidence in the Government’s commitment to them or
their protection?
Hon. JENNY SHIPLEY: I am sure that if the member checks the amount
of money that Rape Crisis and Women’s Refuge have received since this
Government came to office, she will see there has been a steady set
of increases in support available for those services.
Chris Fletcher: What initiatives has this Government taken to
address the issue of domestic violence?
Hon. JENNY SHIPLEY: I am sure members will recall that on 1
December last year the Government introduced the Domestic Violence
Bill. The objective of the Bill is to provide much greater protection
for victims of domestic violence, including women and children, and
to ensure the protection of people in a wide range of domestic and
personal relationships. The Bill is currently before the Justice and
Law Reform Committee and will come back to this House in due course.
Elizabeth Tennet: I seek leave to table a letter from the
Wellington Sexual Abuse Help Foundation, which states that unless
$50,000 can be found by the end of July that foundation, too, will be
slowing down and shutting down its services.

1995_10_10 2nd reading DV Act

Hansard – Stage: Stage>SECOND READING – Date>12 OCT 1995
Main speaker – Speaker>Hon. D A M GRAHAM

Second Reading
Hon. D A M GRAHAM (Minister of Justice): I move, That this Bill be
now read a second time. Domestic violence is a significant problem in
New Zealand. It permeates through all parts of society. Everyone
feels its impact, directly or indirectly. This Bill aims to even up
the odds for those directly affected, by providing greater protection
for the victims of domestic violence. It also sends yet another
signal that domestic violence is unacceptable behaviour in the 1990s.
This Bill will repeal the Domestic Protection Act 1982—a statute
that is not very old in legislative terms. Since 1982 society’s
attitude towards domestic or family violence has been changing. Each
year the level of tolerance diminishes. These changing attitudes
parallel international developments.
Traditionally, domestic violence has been ignored or condoned,
primarily because it occurred between people in close relationships,
and usually in the privacy of their homes. Violence, which if it had
occurred between strangers would have caused public outrage, went
unreported because it involved family members. The relationship and
the accommodation situation were often the factors that prevented the
victim from just getting up and leaving, or telling the abuser to
leave. In these circumstances the general criminal law does not
provide the kind of protection needed. A more focused legislative
response was required for victims to feel safe.
I am pleased that the Bill has emerged from the select committee
with amendments that improve and strengthen it. The Bill has taken
the non-molestation and non-violence orders from the 1982 Act, and
has combined them into a single protection order that can last
indefinitely. The order is available for a much wider range of people
in close relationships, not only the nuclear family. The Bill allows
children to apply for orders in their own right. It allows people
around the protected person, who may not have a relationship with the
respondent, to come under the umbrella of the order if that is
appropriate. Similarly, orders can apply against a person whom the
respondent has encouraged to do something that would be grounds for
an order if the respondent had done it himself.
The Bill gives greater recognition to the features and dynamics of
domestic violence as they are now understood. Clause 3 recognises
expressly that domestic violence includes psychological abuse. One
form of such abuse is allowing a child to witness the abuse of a
person with whom that child has a domestic relationship. The
amendment to this clause makes it clear that the child does not need
to see an incident. If the child hears it taking place, that also
constitutes psychological abuse.
The select committee has made a series of amendments to different
clauses to change the focus from single acts to behaviour generally.
In particular, clause 3 recognises that while a single act may
constitute abuse, the abusive nature of particular behaviour may
arise from the fact that there is a pattern of behaviour comprising a
series of incidents, some or all of which appear to an outsider to be
relatively innocuous. To the victim, the latest and perhaps minor act
may simply be the last straw. In other words, the court has to look
at the behaviour as a whole, in the context of the particular
A protection order automatically contains two types of standard
conditions, which are found in clause 17. The first group prohibits
all forms of domestic violence, regardless of the form that led to
the application. The second group, which can broadly be described as
non-contact conditions, is based on the conditions that are currently
part of the non-molestation order. The select committee has
simplified the formulation of some of those conditions.
As the Bill allows the new protection order to operate while the
parties are living in the same house, it is necessary to state what
happens to the non-contact conditions in those circumstances. The
relevant clauses have been amended to provide that the non-contact
conditions can be suspended or revived only if the protected person
consents. This means that the protected person is in control of the
situation, and if police officers arrived at an incident they would
assess the current status of these conditions by reference to the
protected person only.
Where an order also protects children, the court can specify in
the order who is to give this consent. Where there is more than one
protected person in the house, all must consent to the respondent’s
presence. It will be important for respondents to understand the
implications of these provisions. If a respondent considers that the
protected person is misusing them, the respondent has the option of
applying for a discharge of the order.
Clause 18 allows customisation of orders by providing for special
conditions that are necessary to protect the applicant. The select
committee has added a new category of special conditions relating to
weapons, which are defined as including ammunition and explosives as
well as firearms. The committee was satisfied that there was
insufficient evidence to warrant this type of condition being a
standard condition that applies automatically to every protection
order. Instead, it decided that weapon conditions should be available
on request for applicants who thought they were necessary for their
protection. To ensure that the issue is actively considered in each
case, every application must state whether the applicant wishes to
apply for a special condition relating to weapons.
The effect of a weapons condition is that the respondent cannot
possess or have under his or her control any weapon. The respondent
cannot hold a firearms licence. If the protection order is a
temporary order, as will often be the case, the licence will be
suspended until the order becomes final, and the respondent must
surrender any weapon or licence to the police within 24 hours, or
whenever the police demand it.
Clause 18C gives the court discretion to allow possession of a
specified weapon or licence in limited circumstances, if the effect
of the condition would otherwise be to deprive a respondent of his or
her livelihood. In that case the conditions can be relaxed, but must
still ensure to the greatest possible extent that the protected
person will be safe. Even if the court relaxes the condition in these
circumstances, the police are not obliged to grant a licence under
the Arms Act.
The provisions in the Bill as introduced requiring copies of all
protection orders to be sent to the police have been retained. The
police must check each order, and can use the Arms Act powers to
revoke a licence or seize weapons, even when the order does not
contain a weapons condition.
The Bill places considerable emphasis on programmes for both
respondents and victims. The term “programme” has now been adopted
in preference to “counselling”, as it more accurately describes the
kind of assistance to be offered under the Bill. The objectives of
the programmes have been refined in recognition that the Bill cannot
hope to provide programmes that deal with all aspects of victims’
lives that are affected by the violence, or all problems that
respondents may have. For adult victims the main objective is to
promote protection from domestic violence, and for child victims it
is to assist in dealing with the effects of such violence.
Clause 19 makes it clearer that a protected person who wishes to
attend a programme is entitled to do so, and simply makes a request
to a registrar. The parties cannot be required to attend joint
sessions, although they can agree to do so. At the end of the
programme the provider must make a report on attendance and on
Clause 26, which relates to confidentiality of information
disclosed to a programme provider, has been revised. While
restrictions on disclosure remain, breach is no longer an offence.
The clause also contains a list of exceptions to the general rule
preventing disclosure. A provider may disclose information for the
purposes of proceedings under the Act; for the investigation of
offences committed during the programme; where it is necessary to
prevent or lessen a serious threat to the safety of the public or of
a particular person; where consent is forthcoming; or to those who
are providing programmes to other people to whom a particular
protection order relates.
I was pleased to announce at the time of the Budget that the
Government has provided $9 million over the next 3 years to implement
the initiatives in the Bill. A good portion of that money will go
towards providing the programmes. As it has proved difficult to
estimate the likely increase in costs, Cabinet has agreed that once
there is more concrete data about actual costs, I will be able to
assist with additional funding if necessary.
The Bill also toughens the enforcement provisions by tightening
the bail laws and by making a breach of a protection order punishable
by a maximum of 6 months’ imprisonment. For further breaches within a
specified time, the penalty is a maximum of 2 years’ imprisonment.
The committee considered carefully whether the discretionary
arrest power in clause 33 should be replaced by a stricter, even
mandatory, arrest power, as some submissions suggested. Because the
Bill expressly covers a much broader range of conduct, and a wider
group of people than does the present Act, it appeared too harsh to
have a rigid arrest power, the consequences of which are probable
detention for 24 hours. The committee concluded that the current
discretion, combined with some statutory guidelines about the
exercise of the discretion and a strict police policy, strike the
appropriate balance.
Part III provides for four types of property orders, including a
new furniture order that allows furniture to be uplifted if that is
necessary to set up a new home, rather than the victim getting
possession of the existing home. There were concerns that restricting
the two types of furniture orders to applicants who had children
penalised single people who might have as much need for such an
order. Clauses 48 and 52 therefore loosen this provision to allow
these orders to be made when the partners have been living in the
same house, whether or not children are involved.
Part VA includes a raft of new provisions for public registers
that allow a protected person to apply for a direction that
information about the person’s whereabouts that is on a public
register should not be made available to the public. The aim of these
provisions is to assist and protect a person who wishes to
re-establish his or her life in a new place.
Clause 105 makes important changes to the custody and access
provisions of the Guardianship Act. These changes implement the
recommendations of the Davison report, which followed the deaths of
the three Bristol children last year. Where allegations of violence
are made in custody and access proceedings, the court is to determine
as soon as practicable whether the allegations can be sustained. If
an allegation of violence against a child or a party to the
proceedings is substantiated, the violent parent is not to be given
custody or unsupervised access unless that parent can satisfy the
court that the child will be safe.
Access change-over times can create the opportunity for conflict
or violence between parents. To provide greater protection in these
circumstances, a new provision will be inserted in the Guardianship
Act. This will require the court, when making an access order in
cases where there have been allegations of violence, to consider
whether there are adequate safeguards to ensure the safety of the
non-violent parent during access change-over times.
A number of submissions raised the issue of funding of supervised
access. The Bill provides that where a person who has used violence
is permitted to have supervised access to a child, the costs incurred
in exercising supervised access are to be met by that person. No
change has been made to this provision. However, the position will be
kept under review, and if after the new provisions have been
operating for a while it appears that the lack of funding for
supervised access is causing real difficulties, the issue can be
re-examined at that stage.
Clause 109 amends the Legal Services Act to create a special
scheme for victims of domestic violence who receive legal aid. They
do not have to pay contributions, nor does any charge attach to their
property. The amendments make it clear that this special legal aid
scheme applies only to proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act.
It does not apply to other proceedings like custody and access that
may happen to be taken by the person at the time.
Finally, I mention that although there is no specific commencement
date for the Bill, it is the Government’s intention that it should
come into force as soon as the necessary rules and regulations can be
Domestic violence is everyone’s problem. While there is now less
tolerance of domestic violence, what is required is a fundamental
shift in attitudes throughout society. That requires initiatives and
a variety of funds, and it will take time. The passage of this Bill
will represent a significant step forward, but its initiatives are
unlikely to reduce domestic violence overnight, and in the short term
the problem may appear worse, as some previously invisible violence
surfaces. However, I hope that before too long, as a result of this
and other initiatives, it will be possible to point to some
measurable reduction in the incidence of domestic violence, and that
must benefit all society.
I thank the select committee for its good work. I commend the Bill
to the House.

Hansard – Stage: SECOND READING – 12 OCT 1995
Main speaker – Hon. PHIL GOFF

Hon. PHIL GOFF (Roskill): The objective of this legislation is to
provide greater protection for the victims of domestic violence. As
such, the Labour Party endorses this legislation very strongly. The
select committee looked very closely at the legislation. It was very
demanding on its officials, and it finally came back to the House
with 42 pages of amendments. I believe that the changes that were
made through the select committee have produced the best possible
legislative response to a problem that has devastated the lives of
literally hundreds of families. We believe that the legislation is a
good effort towards putting in place what is required in statutory
I take a moment to congratulate the departmental people, who
served the committee well, who did extraordinarily good research on
the Bill before it was introduced, and who, at every point of the
Bill, dealt with it in a competent and efficient way. I think all the
select committee members would endorse those comments.
I give credit to many of the people who did the research and the
reports and who pushed and lobbied on the need for this legislation
long before it developed any statutory form. While it is difficult to
distinguish only one group out of very many that have worked in this
area, I pay particular tribute to the people at University of
Waikato, Ruth Busch, Neville Robertson, and Hilary Lapsley, who
played a major role through their 1992 report for the Victims Task
Force entitled Protection from Family Violence. I think in many
senses that report was a critical genesis of the legislation that we
have before us.
But even before this task force reported in 1992, we had the
commission of inquiry headed by Sir Clinton Roper way back in 1987.
That commission of inquiry told the country that contrary to the view
that violence was something that happened to you on a late Friday or
Saturday night in a dark alley somewhere in the centre of the city,
80 percent of all violence in our society was in fact domestic
violence. The delay in following up the Roper report with legislation
to address the problem is an unfortunate reflection on the low
political priority that, for too long, was accorded to legislating in
this area.
Eighteen months ago we received another report, the Bristol
inquiry by Sir Ronald Davison. The Bristol inquiry followed the
murder of three young children in the Bristol family by their father,
who committed suicide, when, despite the fact that this man had on
many occasions used violence against his spouse, he was given custody
of children in a circumstance that was quite inappropriate and led to
a terrible tragedy.
As a result of the Davison committee report we have in this
legislation changed the Guardianship Act so that violence by any
person creates a presumption that that person who is violent will not
have custody and will not have unsupervised access to his or her
children unless that person can prove to the court’s satisfaction
that the children would be safe in his or her care.
There is no doubt at all that this legislation is long overdue.
The prevalence of domestic violence in this country and overseas was
recently exposed in a report by Hilary Lapsley in 1993 for the Social
Policy Agency. Regrettably, too little work has been done in New
Zealand, so the report relied to some extent on far greater research
that has been done in the context largely of the United States. There
it was estimated that the number of women abused by partners ranged
from 18 to 36 percent of the female population. Between 7 and 11
percent of the women had been severely abused by their partners at
some time in their lives. In New Zealand a study found that abuse in
this country, though lower than the United States estimates, was
still very significant. The study found that 16 percent of women at
some stage had been physically abused as adults. Another New Zealand
study found that 9 percent of women had reported assaults by partners
over a period of 5 years.
But the assault by male on female is only one aspect of the area
where protection is needed from domestic violence. Another area where
the need is becoming exposed is in the area of elder abuse. In that
context in the United States it is estimated that there are some half
a million to 2 1/2 million incidents a year. Regrettably in New
Zealand no such study has been done of the violence perpetrated on
elderly people by those on whom they are dependent. But if we
extrapolated the American figures we are probably talking about
20,000 cases a year.
The third form of domestic violence that is also prevalent is
sexual abuse. North American and English studies show that between 12
percent and 38 percent of women were sexually abused as children. A
recent New Zealand study puts the figure for this country at 24
percent, nearly one in four. Even if only a fraction of that level of
sexual abuse was occurring, this situation is extremely serious. So
the need for the protection of women and children, in particular, and
also of elderly people, in a domestic situation is very clear.
The need is all the more imperative when we take into account the
fact that study after study shows that violence in the home is
intergenerational. Violent fathers and battered mothers are role
models for their sons and daughters and the problem carries over from
one generation into the next.
The human cost, obviously, is the most important, but there is a
financial cost and that financial cost needs to be taken into account
when we consider the very low level of resourcing that the Minister
has just foreshadowed will be available to implement this
legislation. Suzanne Snively last year did a study for the Department
of Social Welfare. She said that at the very conservative end of
estimates, family violence in this country is costing the country at
least $1.2 billion a year. Clearly this legislation is needed to
confront a problem that these statistics demonstrate is one of the
most serious social ills of our society at the present time.
The point that the Opposition wants to make in the House this
afternoon is that legislation on the statute book is not enough. It
is essential that institutions and programmes established or given
responsibility under this legislation are also given the financial
ability, the resources, to do the job properly to meet the demands
that this legislation will place upon them.
As I said before, the Minister suggested to the House a short time
ago that he has received from Cabinet a sum of $9 million, which will
cover the first 3 years of the implementation of this programme. I am
sure the Minister himself is aware that this is only a fraction of
what the actual costs will be to do the job properly. Principal
Family Court Judge, Judge Mahony, appeared before the select
committee, and he estimated that the number of domestic violence
cases currently coming before the courts, as a result of this
legislation, will nearly double. Currently about 5,000 cases a year
of family violence are heard before the courts. His estimate is that
this will increase to over 9,000. That will create a considerable
extra work burden on the courts at a time when they are already under
some pressure.
A very good part of this Bill ensures that legal aid is available
to those needing protection orders, without any cost having to be
borne by the person seeking that protection. I applaud that. It will
have a cost. That cost alone is estimated at between $1.5 to $2
million dollars a year. Changes in the Guardianship Act are estimated
to cost $4 million. The requirement under the Act, and again I
support this requirement, is that offenders are required to attend
compulsorily programmes addressing their behavioural problems, and
that will also cost at least $4 million a year. When we take into
account the cost of providing additional support for victims, and God
knows that is necessary, that too is an extra cost.
A very conservative estimate of what is required to put this
legislation into effect is $10 million a year, yet the Minister is
offering $9 million over 3 years. I know he has said there is some
flexibility—he can go back to Cabinet for some more money—but I
must ask the question of why so little has been given at this point.
Are we going to see a Government determined to try to implement good
legislation on the cheap, in a way that will undermine the
effectiveness of that legislation? We have already seen the groups
working out there now expected to make huge efforts on the
cheap—Victim Support, Women’s Refuge, Men for Non Violence New
Zealand. They are not receiving the funding that is necessary for
them to give the protection to victims that the victims need.
I am concerned that this approach is being taken in this
legislation. It is imperative that the Government does provide the
funding necessary. I mentioned the Snively figure—that domestic
violence is costing this country $1.2 billion a year—and the
Government is talking about an average of $3 million to address that
problem. I do not believe that that will be enough, and I predict
quite confidently that the Government will have to come back for more
money for these programmes or alternatively it will try to do it on
the cheap with disastrous consequences. The proper funding of the
implementation of this legislation is only one of the co-requisites
for the success of the legislation in meeting its objectives.
More than any legislative change, we need to take other measures
if we are to provide real protection for victims in our society. A
fence at the top of the cliff is always preferable to the need for an
ambulance at the bottom, and, first and foremost, I think that what
we have to do is try to prevent people from becoming victims in the
first place. The objective of this legislation is to assist victims
of domestic violence, and to help prevent that we need to have
programmes alongside the statute book to ensure that this happens.
Disproportionate violence, we know, occurs in those families that
are dysfunctional. We need to intervene early to identify such
families, as they do in Hawaii; to screen children born in hospitals;
and to check whether the family is dysfunctional. Where the family is
dysfunctional we need from the time of birth to offer support
programmes to ensure that those children get a good start in life and
are not subject to domestic violence. Home visitors under the Healthy
Start programme that operates in Hawaii work incredibly well. They
have cut down child abuse and child neglect. They are trying to break
the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence.
Surely we must do the same thing here. The legislation by itself
will not achieve the objectives set down in statute. We need
programmes aimed at addressing problems in violent behaviour at a
young age. There are very good programmes like Eliminating
Violence—Managing Anger, which operates in a few schools. It is
incredibly successful but there is no funding to spread it beyond
just a handful of schools to address the problems of violence in
children throughout the wider community.
We need access to programmes aimed at dealing with the causes of
violence or abusive behaviour, again by adequately resourcing those
programmes. We have the excellent Stop programme, which is designed
to deal with problems of sexual abuse. It works. It is
cost-effective. It helps prevent sexual abuse by offenders from
continuing over the lifetime of that offender. But we have large
areas of the country that have no coverage by such programmes. In
some areas those programmes have closed through lack of funding and
in others where they operate they are underfunded and they cannot
meet the demands that are placed upon them.
I believe that the Government has to be consistent with the
objective of this legislation by giving greater protection to
victims, and by providing the support and the resources to proven and
cost-effective programmes that deal with the causes of violent and
sexual offending, most of which occurs within the home.
What does this Bill do? It brings into effect some very important
changes. It extends the range of people who can now seek protection
from domestic violence, to all forms of domestic relationships. It
broadens the category of behaviour covered—not simply physical
assault but also sexual and psychological abuse. It increases
sanctions for those who break protection orders. Those fines are now
up to $5,000 or 6 months’ imprisonment. I think the figure was $500
and 3 months’ imprisonment. Importantly, it puts a much more severe
sanction in place for the person who breaks an order three times. In
the committee we changed that to the breach of protection orders
protecting any person, so that those who break such orders in such a
way, who are recidivist in their behaviour, can be imprisoned for up
to 2 years.
Offenders will be referred to programmes to seek to change their
behaviour. It is no good for offenders appearing before court to be
placed back in the family home and back in the community, unless we
start to address the causes of their behaviour. Offenders will have
to attend programmes, and what we tried to do in the select committee
was to ensure that the law was not met simply by attendance but that
an effort was made by those persons. I do not want to exaggerate the
effectiveness of the programme but figures suggest that at least in
half of the cases people are far less likely to reoffend, and that
justifies the investment that we make in the Bill in this way. I
think that the effect of this Bill will be to send a clear message
that violence as a means to resolve domestic disputes simply will not
be tolerated by society.
There are one or two issues on which I can touch in the last
minutes of my speech. We looked at the question of the fact that this
Bill did not cover minors—people under the age of 17 years—who
behaved violently towards their parents. This was a matter of concern
to some of us on the committee who were familiar, through
constituency work, with violent and abusive 14, 15, or 16-year-old
boys much larger than, usually, their single mothers, and we
regretted that the protection under this Act would not be provided in
those situations. We were, however, assured that the Children, Young
Persons, and Their Families Act makes provision for this and allows
for the removal of violent children, but I believe that we will need
to monitor that.
There was the question of power to arrest for the breach of a
protection order. The police, of course, can arrest without warrant
where there is good cause to suspect that an order has been breached.
The committee decided that the power of arrest would be left as a
discretionary exercise of that power rather than as a mandatory
exercise by the police. The police very much supported the
flexibility that was provided by discretion. The current police
policy is that a person who breaches an order is to be arrested
unless there are exceptional circumstances. Looking at the
statistics, it can be seen that the police policy is having an
impact. In 1991, the number of prosecutions was 2,427, then 3 years
later in 1994 they had nearly trebled to 6,684.
It was drawn to our attention by submissions that there were
inconsistencies in the implementation of police policy. We believed
that that needed to be dealt with administratively rather than on a
statutory basis. We believed that flexibility was important; the more
so because of the wider scope of the new Act and the broader range of
conduct that will be captured, some of which is not intrinsically
criminal. The consequence for a breach of something that may be
technical or comparatively minor is probable detention for 24 hours,
and there are some circumstances in which that would not be
Clause 34 refers to the release of a person arrested, and the Bill
does make a significant change to general bail laws. The effect will
be that except in cases of breaches of direction to undergo a
programme, a person charged with the breach of a protection order
cannot be released on police bail for 24 hours. Indeed, the court
decision on the bail will also take into account as a paramount
consideration the safety of the victim.

1995_10_11 question DV Act

19951011 question

Hansard – Stage: Stage> – Date>11 Oct 1995
Title>Written Question
Question speaker – Speaker>DIANNE YATES
Responding speaker – Speaker2>Hon D A M GRAHAM
Question No – Question>7431

DIANNE YATES (Hamilton East) to the Minister of Justice:
Which of the 101 recommendations in the 1992 Victim’s Task Force Report does he
consider are current policy or in practice, are to be addressed by proposed
legislation, are still to be considered, are not regarded as practicable, are
based on misconceptions, relate to other departments, and are recommendations
he does not intend to endorse?


Hon D A M GRAHAM (Minister of Justice) replied: By “the 1992
Victims Task Force Report” I assume is meant the report commissioned
by the Victims Task Force Protection from Family Violence: a study of
protection orders under the Domestic Protection Act 1982 (abridged).
I refer to my answer to question for written answer No. 5319, lodged
on 14 September 1994. Since this answer was given two recommendations
may have changed status. Recommendations on the Family Court, numbers
31 and 8, may be able to be addressed further in the course of the
implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill. Any further work on
these recommendations will need to wait until the final form of the
Domestic Violence Bill is known.

1995_10_12 2nd reading DV Act

Hansard – Stage: Stage>REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE – Date>10 OCT 1995
Title>DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL : Report of Justice and Law Reform Committee
Main speaker – Speaker>ALEC NEILL

Report of Justice and Law Reform Committee
ALEC NEILL (Chairman of the Justice and Law Reform Committee): I
am directed to present a report. I move, That the report of the
Justice and Law Reform Committee on the Domestic Violence Bill do lie
upon the table. The Domestic Violence Bill was introduced to this
House and referred to the Justice and Law Reform Committee on 29
November 1994. The Bill consolidates and amends the Domestic
Protection Act, which is consequently repealed.
The Bill is one aspect of the Government’s overall strategy on the
prevention of domestic violence that has been developed by the crime
prevention unit of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
In reference to the conduct of the select committee during its
examination of the Bill, the closing date for submissions occurred on
24 February 1995. The committee received 67 submissions from women’s
groups, refuges, counsellors, researchers, victims, and other
interested groups and individuals. Thirty-three submissions were
heard orally. The committee travelled to Hamilton to hear
submissions; it spent 14 1/2 hours on the hearing of evidence, and 18
1/2 hours in consideration.
I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Is there any chance of this
being heard in some degree of quietness rather than members of the
Opposition making large amounts of noise?
Mr SPEAKER: I am trying to hear the member. Perhaps members would
be silent. If they wish to speak they should go outside.
ALEC NEILL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The committee received advice
from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Police, the Department of
Justice, and the Ministry of Justice; and it received drafting
assistance from parliamentary counsel. I extend to those departments
and to parliamentary counsel the committee’s thanks for their
extensive involvement in this legislation.
The Justice and Law Reform Committee has completed its
consideration of the Domestic Violence Bill and recommends that it be
allowed to proceed, but at the same time it has drawn a number of
amendments to the attention of the House, which are included in the
report back.
One of the major issues considered by the select committee was
that of the provision relating to weapons. The committee was informed
by police that very few domestic-related homicides are carried out by
licensed firearm owners. While up to one-third of partnership
homicides involve firearms, the majority are carried out by people
without firearms licences, using stolen weapons. However, a
significant number of submissions called for stronger preventive
measures in relation to firearms. Therefore the committee recommends
the insertion of a number of new provisions relating to weapons.
These amendments provide that the court may require that a respondent
must not hold a firearms licence or possess or control weapons; that
the court may allow special conditions where respondents would
otherwise be deprived of their livelihood; and that where a firearm
licence is suspended under a temporary protection order and the order
becomes final, then the licence is revoked. The amendments also
provide for the retention, return, or disposal of surrendered weapons
and licences.
The Bill provides that upon the making of a protection order, a
copy of that order must be forwarded to the police station nearest to
where the protected person resides. The police must immediately—and
I emphasise the emergency nature and urgency of the issue—ascertain
whether the person against whom the order has been made holds a
firearms licence and consider whether to revoke that licence and
seize any firearms from that person.
The committee recommends that these clauses be amended to take
account of future technology with regard to the sending of copies of
orders to the police. The proposed amendment also provides that where
an order is made with special conditions relating to weapons, the
police must be informed of where and when the order was served. The
committee recommends that where a foreign protection order is sent to
the police, the provision relating to the revocation of a firearms
licence and the seizure of firearms applies.
The committee gave consideration to the counselling provisions
contained in the Bill. Clause 19 provides that where a protection
order has been made, the court may direct that the applicant, the
applicant’s child, or another specified person attend a counselling
programme upon the request of the applicant. The committee recommends
that the Bill be amended to remove the mandatory element of the court
directive for counselling for protected persons. This change will
provide for a registrar to authorise counselling at the request of
the applicant. The applicant must be informed of the right to request
counselling and may make the request at any time while the protection
order is in force.
I now refer to counselling for the respondent. The court must
direct a person who has a protection order made against him or her to
attend counselling. An associated person may also be directed to
attend the counselling programme. The committee recommends that the
court be able to exempt the respondent from counselling only if there
is no appropriate programme available. This change removes specific
reference to lack of transport on the part of the respondent as a
reason for not being directed to attend counselling.
The committee recommends that an amendment be made to allow the
court to give a programme provider some information about the
particular proceedings, to enable the provider to target the
programme to persons referred. At present there is a variation in
practice, which means that some programme providers receive no
information about the particular circumstances behind a referral.
The Bill allows for a programme provider to excuse the respondent
from attending counselling under special circumstances. The committee
recommends that where a person is excused from attending a
counselling session, he or she must make up for the missed session or
sessions with an additional session unless the programme provider
considers that the absence has not affected the benefit of the
The committee also recommends the insertion of a new clause 24,
which requires the programme provider to inform the registrar when a
respondent fails to attend a session from which they have not been
excused. Upon completion of the programme, the programme provider
must give notice to the registrar stating that fact and noting
whether the respondent was excused from attending the session or
participated fully in the programme.
The committee recommends that the programme provider be able to
request a variation of the direction to attend counselling where it
is considered that the programme was not appropriate or the
respondent was not participating fully. Under these circumstances the
judge may call the respondent before the court to explain his or her
conduct. The judge may then vary, confirm, or discharge the direction
to attend counselling.
The committee considered the question of confidentiality as it
relates to family law issues. The committee recommends that an
amendment to clause 26 be provided, which makes it an offence for a
counsellor to disclose information about a client. The provision in
this clause would be replaced with a statutory duty not to disclose
information except under the following circumstances: when reporting
to the court about non-attendance, participation, or suitability of
the programme; for proceedings where the respondent is called before
a judge for investigation of an offence committed during a programme;
where necessary to prevent a serious or imminent threat to public
safety, with the consent of the respondent; or where the disclosure
is made to another programme provider working on an associated case.
The committee recommends that any counselling programme to which a
person is referred and the provider of that programme must be
approved in accordance with the regulations made under this Act.
The committee considered the Bill and also made amendments to the
Guardianship Act relating to custody of and access to children in
cases involving violence. A number of submissioners made oral
submissions and written submissions regarding corporal punishment.
Many submissions were received on the subject of corporal punishment
and the definition of domestic violence set out in new section 16A in
clause 105 of the Bill. The submissioners argued that corporal
punishment should not be excluded from this definition.
The committee recommends the deletion of the second paragraph of
the definition, which relates to corporal punishment. That paragraph
had been included in the Bill to make it clear that the use of
reasonable force by way of correction towards children, which is
permitted by section 59 of the Crimes Act, was not caught by the
definition. The committee accepted this advice and that paragraph was
deemed unnecessary.
This change does not affect the legal position about corporal
punishment. Section 59 of the Crimes Act still does not permit
parents to use force against a child that would amount to abuse, but
that does not mean that a parent is not entitled to use reasonable
force to control his or her child by way of spanking and the like.
Many submissions called for the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes
Act. The committee gave consideration to this issue, but was not
prepared to make any recommendation to suggest that section 59 of the
Crimes Act be repealed, notwithstanding that this matter does not
come within the context of the review of this Act.
With regard to allegations of violence made in custody and access
proceedings, clause 105 inserts new section 16B into the Guardianship
Act. The committee recommends that this clause be clarified to
restrict the circumstances in which a court must determine whether
the allegation of violence is proved to an application for a custody
order. The clause is further amended to make it clear that the court
is not required to make its own inquiries to determine the substance
of the allegation.
This Bill is important, as it relates to domestic violence
throughout New Zealand. It is a Bill for which an appropriation will
need to be made to ensure that there is adequate funding so that the
counselling services and the services that are necessary to implement
this Bill are adequately provided for. The committee gave
consideration to the amount of funds available, and recommends the
Bill to the House.

Hansard – Stage: REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE – 10 OCT 1995
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL : Report of Justice and Law Reform Committee
Main speaker – Hon. PHIL GOFF

Hon. PHIL GOFF (Roskill): This afternoon the Opposition will
support the report back of this Bill, just as it supported this Bill
at the select committee, and will support the passage of this Bill as
quickly as possible. I have to say, in qualifying that support, that
Opposition members do not have confidence that the Government will
provide adequate resourcing of this Bill to ensure that the
legislative provisions aimed at providing greater protection to
victims will be backed up by the resources to make those provisions
effective. This Bill did not get legislative priority and political
priority to be introduced when it ought to have been introduced some
years ago, and we fear that that lack of political priority will
spill over in a lack of commitment to making the legislation work.
Having said that, I pay tribute to the officials who worked on
this Bill. The original Bill was a product of solid work and
extensive consultation. I think that the officials got that pretty
right, by and large. The committee itself received 67 submissions
from public organisations and it heard from a range of expert
opinions from those with experience in dealing with domestic
violence. During the select committee stage we sought a further score
of reports from officials to follow up areas of concern, and that
resulted in 42 pages of amendments to the original Bill.
I do believe that this Bill is a good legislative response to the
problem of domestic violence, which must be considered as one of the
most serious social problems of this time. I must say, however, that
we do regret the delay in getting the Bill to the House. It is now 8
years since the Roper commission of inquiry, which reported that 80
percent of violence in this country is domestic violence. It is 3
years since the Victims Task Force reported on the need for vastly
increased assistance to the victims of violence in the home. The
Davison inquiry was some 18 months ago. That reported on the need for
changes in the Guardianship Act to provide for greater protection for
the child.
Late last year we saw a report commissioned by the Department of
Social Welfare and written by Suzanne Snively, which estimated that
domestic violence is currently costing this country $1.2 billion a
year. That is in financial costs; nobody can readily estimate the
human costs of domestic violence—the physical damage, the sexual
abuse, the psychological abuse, and the fear and insecurity that
makes life hard to endure for far too many women and children, in
particular, in this country. We have long understood that the
insidious effect of domestic violence was intergenerational; that the
role model it provided meant that that violence would carry on from
one generation into the next. All those things indicate the
importance of this legislation.
I believe that the Bill represents important and positive advances
in the legislative response to violence of that sort. It extends the
range of people who are protected from domestic violence to cover
those in all manner of domestic relationships. It broadens the
categories of domestic violence, not only physical violence but also
sexual abuse and psychological abuse. It increases the sanctions on
those who breach a protection order to a fine of up to $5,000 and 6
months’ imprisonment. At the select committee we changed the
provision to require that any three breaches of a protection order
could result in imprisonment of up to 2 years. It is a serious
offence, it has dangerous implications for society, and it requires
at least that level of sanction.
The Bill insists that offenders be referred to programmes to seek
to change their behaviour and to reduce recidivism. The Bill ensures
that victims will not have to meet the cost of any legal aid that
they receive in respect of getting a protection order. The
Guardianship Act is changed so that the safety of the child becomes
paramount. The effect of the Bill, I believe, is to send a very clear
message that violence as a means to resolve domestic disputes simply
will not be tolerated by society.
But we need more than legislative change to produce a real change
in the level of domestic violence and to meet the objective of the
Bill, which is to provide greater protection for the victims of such
violence. Real protection involves preventing people from becoming
victims in the first place. It involves dealing with the causes of
violence, and that means not waiting until it happens but introducing
techniques such as early intervention. So if we in this House are
serious about preventing violence, we have to start with
early-intervention programmes—dealing with at-risk families,
dealing with them from the time of the birth of a child, and getting
home visitors into that home, as they do in the Healthy Start
programme, and as Labour recommends in its A Good Start policy.
We need programmes like Eliminating Violence in schools, which is
an excellent programme with proven results, but there is no central
Government funding other than a pilot through the Special Education
Service. We need programmes like the Stop programme, which is aimed
at preventing sexual abuse. But, again, those programmes are not
expanding; they are being closed down through lack of resources. We
need a public education programme that changes the culture of this
country and makes violence across any group in New Zealand totally
unacceptable. We need to do those things first if the objectives of
this Bill are to be met.
In addition to those prevention programmes, it is essential that
the demands that will be generated by this legislation can be met by
adequate resourcing. We received a report in the committee that the
Government was intending to make available over a 3-year period the
total sum of $9 million. However, the Government knows—and I have a
copy of the report to the Cabinet committee—that that sum is
grossly inadequate. Nine million dollars over 3 years is not enough.
The cost set out in that report suggests that the costs will be more
than $9 million—some $10 million a year, not spread out over 3
years. Legal aid costs are estimated to go up by around $2 million a
year. Changes to the Guardianship Act will cost another $3 million a
Currently, about 5,000 cases of family violence are coming before
the courts. The Chief Family Court Judge reported to the select
committee that that figure will rise from 5,000 to 9,000 because of
the broadening of the protection involved and the cases that will be
covered by it. That puts pressure on the court. The Cabinet committee
paper suggests that that money should come out of some other area of
justice policy. Already we have crises right across the board in
justice—trials being held up, defendants being allowed to walk free
because of undue delay. Where will that money come from? The
Government has not given a satisfactory answer. We need the
commitment of new money to make this policy work.
There is also the requirement that offenders must be referred to
compulsory programmes to change their behaviour. That has a cost. It
is estimated it will be about $4 million a year. So we are talking
about an overall cost that vastly exceeds the amount of money that
the Government has said it is willing to budget for these programmes.
That is even excluding the additional support that needs to go to
groups such as victim support, women’s refuges, and the like. That so
far has been on the cheap. The extended role of those groups requires
that their funding be placed on a professional and a reasonable
level. Put shortly, the Government cannot rely on rhetoric alone nor
on underfunded legislation to resolve the problem of domestic
If the financial cost alone—estimated by Suzanne Snively to be
$1.2 billion—represents the cost of domestic violence to this
country then we should not be quibbling about a sum of $10 million a
year. That money should be in there. We should make sure it works. We
will get a good return on that investment.

Hansard – Stage: REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE – 10 OCT 1995
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL : Report of Justice and Law Reform Committee
Main speaker – BRIAN NEESON

BRIAN NEESON (Waitakere): I am pleased to rise to speak to the
report back of this Bill. Both my colleague on this side of the House
and the member for Roskill have elaborated on the Bill itself and on
the targets of the Bill. I would like to build on what has been said
already and send a message to those out there, particularly men, who
are so full of themselves that they throw their weight around and
wind up in a situation where they are bashing and destroying their
own families and, in the end, themselves.
This Bill has been produced for victims. It is not a Bill that
will solve the problems out there without there being a change in
attitude. That change of attitude has to come from those people who
are involved in these situations. The need for this Bill comes about
because of a breakdown in responsibilities and relationships in
society. So many people are quick to rush out to grab their
rights—the big I, my, and me—and it overwhelms and overtakes
their responsibilities.
Relationships break down because people forget that they have to
give. When people join together in a relationship they have to be in
the business of giving to one another—giving to their family and
giving to those around them—if they are to keep themselves out of a
situation where they will wind up in court and be dealt to fairly
severely with what is an extremely good instrument in the hands of
the law. I am talking about the people who forget that they have
responsibilities and who demand continuously that their own wants,
desires, needs, and egos be met out there in the world of families
and relationships.
Most of the submissions were either from counsellors of some sort
or from the victims themselves, which is understandable. One did not
have to listen to many of those victims; it could be seen in their
faces and in their eyes that they had been mortally wounded. For many
of them their relationships and problems were years behind them, but
the damage that had been caused in those relationships had not left
them. Of course, 100 percent of those victims were women—women who
tried their best. They could not defend themselves against brutality.
I want to send out a warning today to those who do have these
problems and tell them that they will be dealt with severely if they
do not go and get some help. There is help out there. Unfortunately,
it is not the traditional help that there used to be, such as
extended families and people who could take the pressure off when
things were getting tough. But there is other help out there, and I
say to these people: “Get to it before you have to be dealt with by
this legislation.” This Bill will deal severely with people who want
to continue to take, grab, smack, belt, and punch.
If people need help, there is help available. This Bill is set for
victims, it is set for children, and it is set to keep safe the
people who are being punched and smacked about. The strongest message
I can give to anybody out there right now is that if the tension is
on, if the pressure is on, if they feel in any way that they are
going to be put into a situation where they will damage their
families, themselves, their partners, or their relationships, they
should get help early before they wind up having to be dealt with by
this legislation.

Hansard – Stage: REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE – 10 OCT 1995
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL : Report of Justice and Law Reform Committee
Main speaker – JUDITH TIZARD

JUDITH TIZARD (Panmure): I welcome the report back of the Domestic
Violence Bill. It is a Bill that has long been in gestation. I have
now been in Parliament for nearly 5 years. In all that time the
Opposition has been calling for the Government to move on this Bill.
I have to say that when the Government finally moved, a good Bill was
produced. I think it has been made much better by the work of the
select committee.
However, it is a Bill that we have some deep disquiet about
because of the attitude of some Government members who are
responsible for the financing of this Bill and because of the
continuing actions of Cabinet in its funding of programmes to prevent
control and to heal the consequences of violence.
This Bill is the result of many reports, like the Roper report and
the Victims Task Force report. I want to pay particular credit to the
authors of that Victims Task Force report because it is mainly their
work that we are seeing before the House today. I do say that it
causes me some disquiet that the House has taken more than 3 years to
respond fully to that report. I want to say that the Opposition’s
greatest amount of disquiet, having seen this Bill reported back to
the House, is on the issue of resourcing.
Even the hardest of hearts and the toughest of minds in Treasury
must be able to look at a report like the one written by Suzanne
Snively last year and see that the cost of domestic violence to this
country, in financial terms alone, is far too heavy for us to
tolerate. The estimated cost of domestic violence to the economy is
$1.2 billion a year, let alone the cost of domestic violence in human
terms and in family terms that goes from generation to generation.
The committee worked long and hard on this Bill. I compliment the
dozens of people who appeared before the select committee and the
hundreds of people who were involved in putting together submissions
on this Bill. The submissions were all carefully thought out and very
well presented. They were often the result of great personal pain. I
believe this Bill is much better for that process, and I want to
compliment those people on their efforts.
We are told that every year about 5,000 cases of domestic violence
appear before the Family Court. Those cases are just the tip of the
iceberg, as the Hitting Home report indicated. This Bill starts a
process that has to go much wider and much deeper. I particularly ask
Government Ministers what their commitment is to making sure that
violence is prevented, not just stopped, in our community when it
gets to the level of the Family Court. Those Family Court cases,
tragic though they are, are only a fraction of the violence, of the
abuse of power, and of the abuse of trust and kindness that occur in
This Bill does many things. It extends the penalties and gives
greater protection for people who are in violent situations. That
message must get out to people who are in violent situations. It
extends the range of people who are involved. We have to be very
careful because we are talking about domestic violence, we are
talking about families, and we are talking about people who are
ordinarily within a household. This Bill sets out to try to offer
protection in the case of physical abuse, of sexual abuse, and of
psychological abuse such as intimidation, harassment, damage to
property, and other acts that lead to physical violence.
We recognise that violence is not just about hitting. It is about
controlling, manipulating, and abusing in other ways. We have
simplified the law relating to protection orders. We have said to the
police that they should ordinarily arrest immediately there is a
complaint of violence. That person, once arrested, should be kept for
24 hours to cool down unless there is very good reason they should
not be. They should not get bail. Protection orders should be issued
immediately, obviously with the right of appeal by the person on whom
they are issued. The police must move to protect New Zealanders from
violence. Breaches of protection orders have much greater penalties.
The penalty for third or subsequent breaches within 3 years is
increased to 2 years’ imprisonment.
[The question having been raised by the Senior Opposition Whip and
the bell having been rung, the Speaker declared that a quorum was

Hansard – Stage: REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE – 10 OCT 1995
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL : Report of Justice and Law Reform Committee
Main speaker – DIANNE YATES

DIANNE YATES (Hamilton East): I wish to speak on the report back
of this Bill particularly as the member for Hamilton East, and I
particularly want to thank Hamilton people who made submissions on
this Bill. I also thank the committee for travelling to Hamilton to
hear those submissions. I particularly thank Neville Robertson and
Ruth Busch, who are lecturers at the University of Waikato. I thank
them not only for their submissions but for the initial research they
did for the Victims Task Force way back in 1992. I thank them not
only for their academic research and their input into this Bill but
also for living through many of the experiences of the people
involved, and for the tremendous volunteer work that they have done
with the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project.
I thank those officials who worked on this Bill for the
understanding they gave to the purpose of the Bill, which is to
protect the victims of domestic violence—in particular, women and
children. This Bill will prevent them not only from being victims of
domestic violence but from being revictimised by the system—our
legal system itself—by making protection orders meaningful and
ensuring that they are enforced.
But what is most important is that the Bill now contains a whole
change of attitude in relation to domestic violence. One word in
particular has been dropped from this Bill, and this is the word
“act”. I thank those who have been working on the drafting of the
Bill for recognising that the essence of this issue is that we move
away from dealing with just violent acts, and look at behaviour.
I can think of an example of a case quoted in the Victims Task
Force report of a man who kept going into a home and doing what we
might think was a kind deed. He would go into the home where he had
previously lived—he was under a non-molestation order—and do the
dishes. That in itself was not a violent act but it was a threatening
act. That type of behaviour is regarded as psychologically
threatening because it shows that the person still has power and
control over the people in that household.
So I thank the officials who helped in making the changes to this
Bill for understanding the change in emphasis away from just acts of
violence, to include behaviour that is psychologically threatening,
which is now within the definition.
I also express some sympathy for those who sent in petitions in
relation to mandatory arrest. Mandatory arrest was regarded as
somewhat impossible by people on the select committee. However, I do
hope that the policing guidelines in relation to domestic violence
will state the circumstances in which a person who breaches a
protection order should not be arrested, and I hope the police will
include this element in regulations.
I am also concerned that now there are five pages in the Bill
about firearms—five pages about why boys can keep their toys. I
think it is absolutely ridiculous that, in a sense, we have spent
such a lot of time ensuring that a possum hunter out the back of
Benneydale can keep his rifle and his gun licence. The restrictions
in this Bill are more lenient than those for someone who commits a
traffic offence. Regardless of whether someone steals a rifle in
order to kill his wife, I still think too much attention is paid in
the Bill to allowing people to keep their weapons; more attention is
paid, as I have said, to the rights of boys to keep their toys than
to the rights of children to protection against violence.
Once again I thank those who have made submissions, especially, as
the previous speaker has mentioned, those who gave of their personal
experience, at some considerable cost—people who told us of their
own lives. To them it was, as has been mentioned, a painful
experience to have to relive those experiences in front of a select
committee. I thank them for their bravery, and I thank them for the
help that they have given to others, to people who might become
victims in the future. I know it was a particularly difficult thing
for some people to do.
I also thank my colleagues on the select committee for bea



    Another reason to fight for what we believe in.

    Comment by Kumar — Thu 3rd July 2014 @ 10:00 pm

  2. A very important post revealing how our elected government go about taking away our human Rights and abusing tens of thousands of our children and Fathers.
    Merely for having a normal argument they will forcebly kidnap our children and hold them hostage and brainwash them against the father they love.

    These are very sick minded power crazy people running our country.

    thanks murray.

    Comment by Phil Watts — Tue 5th August 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  3. gorvenement view should be peoples view and not the other way round..

    Comment by kiranjiharr — Tue 5th August 2014 @ 5:18 pm

  4. The Police Arrest studies were groundbreaking research, for their time. They were not intended to be the end of research into these topics, just another stepping stone in the path of ongoing research.

    However, unfortunately large scale, practical, real world based DV research stopped after those studies had been completed. There were several reasons for the cessation of further police/court type studies:

    (a) ethical difficulties regarding using the public as non-consenting participants in compulsorily applied research, caused real fear in university ethical committees. These problems had been partly overlooked for the original studies, due to the lack of workable alternative approaches. However, as time went on, ethical standards were enforced more vigorously, as USA became a more vexatiously litigious country. Administrators were too scared of the liability in terms of damages and reputational issues.

    (b) Advocacy organisations took the results from the intial studies and wanted to apply them without any further delay. They put no pressure to continue the studies, they were happy with what they had already got. Actually, they were happy with running with a simplified version of the results, without taking on board the total conclusions from the studies.

    Simple version: Mandatory arrest the man, remove him from the house.

    Complete conclusions, that were carefully ignored!:
    1. Removing the man worked well for men without antisocial personality disorder.
    2. It was totally inappropriate if the woman was the only violent or drunk party.
    3. If mandatory arrest was applied wrongly to a man or woman with antisocial personality disorder (everyday language a criminal record), the outcomes could be way out of proportion to the original incident and tragic for everyone. In the end, a small number of such incidents could cause more harm than the good achieved by a larger number of removals of somewhat violent men from houses.

    In others words – don’t use unthinking mandatory arrest and removal – apply sanctions that are relevant and proportional to what is happening. (This concept in justice is now thousands of years old. Somehow, it needs to need to be learned again and again, every few years……)

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sat 13th June 2015 @ 11:29 pm

  5. Reading the comments here, if you want to find out about something you have to look on the internet. You quickly see how mainstream news is shallow (unless you want to learn more about Lady GaGa), misleading and often false; little wonder when all mainstream news is owned and controlled by six corporations. Thanks guys and thank God for free speech

    Comment by Ant — Sun 14th June 2015 @ 7:36 am

  6. Too many people see violence as a man on woman issue. TV advertising has pushed that simple, misleading and ignorant concept now for many years (all Government funded).

    Thus, mandatory arrest seems like an obvious and simple response, to a situation that is quite difficult to assess (especially in the heat of the moment).

    Underlying violence, is conflict. Unsolved conflicts may easily lead into violence. Unsolved problems, such as alcohol or drug or prescription drugs, or gambling addictions, create serious and difficult to solve financial and time problems for the family. Mental health issues may come and go, but the time, resource and financial problems they exacerbate, tend to hang around heavily. Women have at least as many mental health difficulties as men, so mandatory arrest the man policies direct attention away from where at least 50% of the problems lie.

    So mindlessly removing a man from a house isn’t helping and may make much worse the underlying family problems.

    Some children are much more difficult to care for and to discipline. If parents have poorer mental health, then they likely will find such a child very hard and unrewarding to care for. Unrewarding – shows up as pushing the child’s care onto others….. By rationing mental health care and support more than physical health care, many parents are dropped into very harsh situations, relatively unsupported. We can expect disaster… Sole parenting of such a child can be extremely difficult and very high risk. Parents with easy children don’t usually understand how challenging such a child can be..
    Born naughty? Why some kids raise hell

    The Sky City/National Party has boosted gambling options and reduced financial support for mental health and addiction services, creating much more stress in the poorer sections of our society.

    The Sky City/National Party has manipulated the electricity market, to almost double the retail price of electricity in NZ, compared to many USA cities.

    Arbitrarily expensive heating hits the health of poor families. This regressive action hits the poor far harder, than the successful rich families. It drops many ok families into the poor….. We are applying Malthusian natural selection to weed out the poor, by degrading their health to death. Lets hope they can die out of public sight and not moan too loud, as their children die. North & South is the only profit media outlet that I have seen publicly comment on that billion$ manipulation.

    Government talks about anti-monopoly, but they do it themselves on a large scale in the electricity market, through the energy companies that they own and control.

    Agreements that substantially lessen competition (Although the Government doesn’t see that as applying to themselves?!!!!)

    Help poor kids, says Dr Wills

    Health High electricity prices impact health

    Asthma – putting the wind up

    Government has been taking funding away from the Problem Gambling Foundation. Let the “market” provide a solution, they say….

    Maybe if we valued people and their good health, more than monopoly profits, we could fairly easily reduce the mental health and physical health problems that underlie stresses on families.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 14th June 2015 @ 12:04 pm

  7. Violence is only man on woman?, or do women sometimes injure and kill children or themself?

    National statistics from USA, UK, Canada and Australia clearly show women kill and injure about the same number of children as men in total. (Unfortunately for the public having a sensible understanding of the risks that children face, profit media highlight violent killings and the public rarely get to hear about mothers killing by asphyxiation or killing with prescription drugs. Thus the public are informed about a seriously distorted sample of child deaths.)

    The most careful study of hazards to children available in the world: (Not perfect at all.)
    The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect

    If the statistics are higher quality, ie more detailed in the data gathered, it can be seen that most of the men who kill children are not the fathers of the children. Put the other way, fathers kill only a fraction of the number of children killed by mothers.

    NZ statistics are not professionally gathered by anyone, so that the best opportunity to understand hazards to children in NZ, is to extrapolate from USA, Canada, UK and Australian data, which conveys sufficient data to understand hazards to children.

    But – the acid topic for this moment is “Do women kill children in rage or hurt, over cutoff access?”

    As the number of mothers suffering from cutoff access is so much fewer than men, about 10%, it is difficult to identify the relative risk from national statistics. The statistics just don’t give sufficient detail.

    However, some indication of women’s relative propensity to suicide or kill children on cutoff access can be gained from individual case reports and an estimate of the population at this risk.

    Without giving all of the details, here is an indication of what we are talking about. (Further examples must be kept confidential..)

    NZ Rosemary Perkins
    Access ruling made on day of deaths
    Mother used pills and pillows to kill girls
    Death of Nelson mother and children a ‘tragedy of highest order’

    USA Mother suicides after cutoff access
    The Suicide of Non-Custodial Mom, Juliette Gilbert

    Examples like these lead to a conclusion that women are at somewhat lower risk of murdering children, or suicide, after being subject to cutoff access. A best guess rough estimate might be 20 to 40% as likely as a man, in similar circumstances.

    Either way, women do do similar “crazy” things as men, when subject to extreme emotional stress. (Of course, “crazy” means as seen by a person who has never experienced these stresses and who lacks any understanding of these types of stresses ie our “judges”.)

    I am just trying to reinforce the point, that it is necessary to respond to situations humanely, proportionally to the facts of the situation, not based on mandatory, 100% evidence-free, unthinking, judgement-less rules. Judgement based on the sex of the parent, has no place in proper professional practice. Reading the Hansard record above, it is clear that Parliament did not intend punishment to be based on the sex of the parent. They expected judges to successfully apply professional quality judgement, based on the relevant facts=evidence of each individual situation. It is not only what official actions are taken, but the manner in which they are carried out. This greatly affects the emotional stress applied. This is where true professional level skills shine, in terms of improved outcomes for all parties.

    An emotive description of the impact of quick and rough removal of children from their parents, is given in an article by Professor Paul Chill, a New York Law Professor. The Pernicious Effect of Emergency Removal in Child Protective Proceedings Isaac Newton suggested every force has an equal and opposite reaction. Roughly true of human emotions too. This article may be read as being indicative of the parents, that is mother’s and father’s emotional reactions after sudden removal of their children.

    In my opinion, many actions of NZ “judges” amount clearly to malpractice, if they were ever to be judged on professional standards, that is by the standards of the professions (obviously not including the legal-worker’s profession).

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 14th June 2015 @ 2:45 pm

  8. My Direct experience was that their was DELIBERATE “PROVOCATION” direct at me to REACT so as to get me convicted or charged with a DOMESTIC VIOLENCE offence!!!!!

    “PROVOCATION” was MADE LEGAL in NZ – it was previously a DEFENCE if you were provoked or incited to react – since that time PROVOCATION has become the weapon of choice to INCITE CONFLICT – and get PARENTS ENTRAPPED so they can be destroyed.

    This is DELIBERATE – why else would a system encourage it and permit this to run rampant in our Society – destroying PARENTS and CHILDREN – I say again – this is DELIBERATE. Its been permitted to continue so as to generate CONFLICT.

    I have launched a campaign to END ENTRAPMENT – and make this a CRIMINAL OFFENCE – we can add PROVOCATION and ALIENATION to this list of actions that need to be CRIMINALISED – so they CAN NOT be used to create CONFLICT.

    Comment by hornet — Mon 15th June 2015 @ 9:00 am

  9. Western families are breaking up everywhere and children have no idea how to parent when they grow up. I agree with you Hornet, it is deliberate. This article below is good ‘Do You Think What I’ve Written Makes Me a Male Chauvinist?

    Comment by Ant — Mon 15th June 2015 @ 12:21 pm

  10. Here here Hornet

    I read everything on here and you cut through all the B/S

    So the Honorable stood up and….hang on lets stop right there.

    what honorable…..
    These people are supposed to represent all citizens of New Zealand

    not just woman.Almost as an after thought they mention children

    there was a continued lack of any suggestion that males were ever affected

    apparently on going rants above are suggesting Males are the only ones that are immune to Domestic Violence.

    Well men we know where we stand….nowhere.

    Same old same old.

    Comment by joseph — Mon 15th June 2015 @ 2:16 pm

  11. provocation….

    lets start looking at this as a COLLECTIVE PROBLEM for all parents – while we all have INDIVIDUAL experiences – all of us as PARENTS are affected time and time again by the exact SAME TACTICS…. Deliberate tactics to destroy you – destroy your wealth, destroy your credibility, and remove you as an influence in the life of your child. Intentional, Planned, calculated.


    Comment by hornet — Mon 15th June 2015 @ 5:56 pm

  12. Cant believe the free pass solo Mothers and Mothers get dropping off the kids at school. Mothers were found to be over the limit drunk or stoned off their face.
    One woman was a repeat offender and caught 5 x times the legal limit.Not one was investigated to see how that impacted on the children that are in their care.Not one .
    However it does report how very sorry they were and the tears were very real. Unfortunately who could tell if it was to save their own skin or perhaps they now realize the era of their ways, Or they had issues in their Lives so that was to blame

    They all got suspensions and fines. Yet they were never investigated on how their illegal activity and behaviour could impact the children.Ive always believe its a crime to get done with DUI
    The same applies to Woman that have died with their children on board and the fact they were intoxicated or on drugs was denied public release by the courts.I guess the Father,Husband just has too forgive that one and move on. right…WRONG. Its just so sad.
    All men are asking is Equality…This is not it. period

    Comment by joseph — Tue 16th June 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  13. spot on hornet #11 – i never hit or even raised my voice or forced anyone to do anything against their will and yet the criminal police and lawyers and judges and mother conspired together to totally wreck our children’s happy family life and take away all their and my human rights using the ‘protection’ order tactic – due to the ridiculous definitions allowing normal behaviour to be criminalised in an unlawful Femily Court and criminal court system run by the real crimininal psychopaths in positions of authority in most countries. the purpose of this is twofold – to impose a police state control over the male population and to keep the govt. mafia corp. themselves in psychopathic power and control ‘jobs’ in which they bully the people who employ them.

    Comment by phil Watts — Thu 18th June 2015 @ 7:19 pm

  14. Comparing Parliament’s policy planning for legislation, to medical system’s planning of new policies, there are scary differences.

    The medical planning approach carefully looks for possible adverse outcomes, considers their weight and how they might be managed to minimise the possible damage that could be done. After the policy has been brought into effect, it is monitored, so that if the outcomes are poorer than expected, changes can be considered, including abandoning the new policy if that is the best choice.

    Given that our society has this constructive policy approach, how is it that the planning of new laws and implementation of new laws isn’t managed as carefully as new policies in medicine?

    Our legal workers and MPs drafting new laws are not under as close monitoring by the public and as slackers, they can get away with incompetence and malpractice. And they do!

    Just because there are no working complaints and accountability systems doesn’t mean that incompetence and malpractice will occur. However, it greatly increases the risks. The lack of transfer of ideas from medicine into the legal workers, reflects their arrogance and laziness. Professions pride themselves on learning from each other. Legal workers are not a profession, by any judgement.

    To make the comparison more painful, there are several checks within the legislative process, that should make it the equal of the medical process. They exist on paper, but are cut around, by delaying and then at the last moment claiming urgency and ramming the legislation through Parliament. The checks, such as extended Select Committee debate and reading of public submissions are then just bypassed. A good recipe for disaster and several multibillion$ disasters we have had. Our society cannot afford to keep on feeding legal workers like that.

    About Health Impact Assessment

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 10th December 2015 @ 7:16 am

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