New court order to better protect victimsJustice
A Bill creating a new order to protect victims of serious violent and sexual offences passed its second reading in Parliament today.
Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Victims’ Orders Against Violent Offenders Bill creates a new non-contact order to help reduce the likelihood of serious violent and sexual offenders coming into contact with their victims.
“This Government has made perfectly clear its commitment to putting victims at the heart of our criminal justice system. This Bill is one more way to ensure victims feel safe and protected from further offending,” Ms Collins says.
The order would prohibit the offender from contacting the victim in any way and could ban the offender from living, or working in a particular area.
“This Bill recognises that victims are forced to relive these serious ordeals and suffer on-going effects when they come into contact with their offenders. The proposed new order will help to safeguard and give peace of mind to victims and where necessary, place more restrictive conditions on an offender.”
The provisions added to the Bill today include:
- orders can be applied to a person who has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for a specified violent or sexual offence (rather than the five year threshold proposed in the original Bill)
- non-contact orders can be extended to cover an offender’s associates, where the offender encourages the associate to engage in prohibited behaviour that would harm the victim’s recovery
- victims can apply for an order at any time after sentencing.
Ms Collins acknowledges the Law and Order Committee and thanked those who made submissions on the Bill.
The Government expects to pass the Victims’ Orders Against Violent Offenders Bill by the end of 2014.