Court support pilot to reduce trauma for survivors of sexual violence

A service is being piloted to reduce the trauma experienced by sexual violence survivors going through the criminal justice system, says Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

“Sexual violence survivors in Auckland will be provided with psycho-social support leading up to, during and after the criminal justice process,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The trauma experienced by these people can be exacerbated if there is insensitive treatment within the justice system resulting in secondary victimisation. 

The pilot service will be provided by the Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation Charitable Trust (HELP) for the next 12 months.

Ms Sepuloni says Auckland was chosen as the pilot location because of its large metropolitan area with a highly diverse population and a Specialist Sexual Violence Court pilot in operation.

“This work is being done to address a gap in services available to survivors of sexual violence while they are going through the criminal justice system that was identified in the Law Commission’s 2015 report ‘The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence,” she said.

Under-Secretary to the Minister for Justice for Family and Sexual Violence Issues, Jan Logie, has also welcomed the pilot programme.

“This was a recommendation of the 2009 Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence, and it’s a huge relief to finally see some progress in this area because looking after survivors makes our justice system stronger,” Jan Logie said.

The Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Justice will make recommendations on future service delivery after the pilot ends on 30 June 2019.