Better support for youth justice and victims of crime

  • Hon Andrew Little
  • Hon Aupito William Sio

Victims of crime, those at risk of family and sexual violence, and young people falling through the gaps of justice system will get the support they need from increased investment from Budget 2018, says Justice and Courts Minister Andrew Little.

“The system is in crisis and failing children and families, depriving victims of access to legal support and justice.

“The funding we are announcing today will improve access to justice, support victims and keep them safe.”

The main justice services receiving support are:

  • Victim support services will get $13.5 million extra operating funding over four years so that victims of crime and trauma across New Zealand can access crisis response and long-term social support services. There will also be some financial assistance to help people with costs associated with being a victim of crime, including support for victims to participate in the criminal justice system.
  • The National Home Safety Service, which helps high-risk victims of family violence wanting to leave a violent relationship, will receive $7.7 million extra operating funding over the next four years. The service reduces future victimisation by helping people stay in their own homes with increased security features.
  • A new Family and Sexual Violence Central Agent has been allocated $2.0 million in new operating funding for 2018/19. The funding covers the preliminary policy work for setting up the agent, which will lead much needed coordination of public-sector and NGO effort to address domestic and sexual violence.
  • Community Law Centres will receive a boost of nearly 20 per cent – $2.2 million extra operating funding in 2018/19 to provide a wage- and inflation-based increase to help stabilise funding and current service levels.
  • The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) is receiving $2.7 million extra operating funding over the next four years for more staff and IT capability. This Government supports the desire for the efficient management, investigation and resolution of complaints against the Police.

“The Government is committing an extra $13.4 million over four years to Vote Courts for youth justice,” says Andrew Little.

“This is to increase capacity as the age of people who can be dealt with in the youth justice system increases to 17 and to help manage remand pressures.”

“When 17-year-olds have access to the youth court system, including culturally appropriate venues such as Rangatahi and Pasifika Courts, it’s estimated that re-offending among those who would otherwise have appeared in an adult court will fall by 15 per cent,” says Associate Minister for Justice and Courts Aupito William Sio.

Budget 2018 also provides for better court-ordered services, coronial services and improving the Ministry of Justice’s ability to manage the justice system:

  • New operating funding of $52.1 million over the next four years will help support the Ministry’s asset maintenance programme and meet some remuneration and ICT cost pressures.
  • In addition, Budget 2018 provides $15.0 million in 2017/18 and a further $88.0 million in new operating funding over the next four years to support the court system to meet increasing demand for court-ordered services such as expert reports, psychiatric assessments and laboratory tests. This investment will also support the long-term sustainability of coronial services.

“The Coalition Government is committed to fixing a system that’s been neglected and left in crisis. It’s a big challenge. These are the first steps in our plan to improve how our criminal justice system works,” says Andrew Little.