A piloted programme giving judges more information about a defendant’s history of family violence at bail hearings is set to be extended.
The programme has been tested in Porirua and Christchurch since last September.
Though that test had not yet been fully evaluated, the judiciary, Ministry of Justice and the Police were talking about other centres taking it up.
Judges making bail decisions will be provided with the defendant’s family violence history under a new initiative being piloted in the Porirua and Christchurch District Courts.
The three month pilot, beginning 1 September 2015, will automatically provide Judges and Registrars with a Family Violence Summary Report (view sample) which details all the defendant’s recorded family violence incidents, Police Safety Orders and Protection Orders, including any breaches.
Currently, Judges only receive family violence information when bail is opposed. The information does not always include whether previous offences were family violence related and is not always available to the Judge when the matter is first called.
Justice Minister Amy Adams said “Bail decisions are critical in family violence cases because the victim is well known to the perpetrator. In a random crime, there is some degree of anonymity, but in family violence, the perpetrator usually knows exactly where the victim lives, and potentially their daily schedule as well. Giving judges a clear picture of a defendant’s previous pattern of family violence offending when they are making bail decisions is another way to help protect victims from further harm.”