New report reveals barriers to prosecution and conviction for sexual violence cases

A new report by the Ministry of Justice provides an important baseline for measuring the Government’s work to address and end sexual violence in New Zealand.

Attrition and progression: Reported sexual violence victimisations in the criminal justice system analyses 23,739 sexual violence victimisations reported to Police between July 2014 and June 2018.

“Everyone deserves to live free from violence and to get the support and resolution they need when they’ve been harmed,” said Jan Logie, Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Sexual and Domestic Violence Issues).

“Unfortunately for too long, too many people have faced barriers accessing our justice system.

“For every 100 sexual violence incidents reported to the Police,” Jan Logie says, “the figures show only 31 made it to court, 11 resulted in a conviction and 6 in imprisonment.

“This isn’t good enough, and demonstrates the importance of our whole-of-Government approach to ending family violence and sexual violence. No single agency or department can fix this on their own. We have to work together, work differently and work across the whole justice system so every person harmed can get the resolution they need.

“This report does not make for happy reading, but it is crucial that we have good data to measure our progress against.

“We can already see positive results, with the changes Police have made to the way they investigate sexual assaults reflected in a 34% increase in the number of investigations resulting in court action just in the last year, and a substantial decrease in the proportion of victimisations not classed as a crime,” said Jan Logie.

“But there is still a very long way to go. This Government is committed to making progress on these long-term challenges. We are improving court facilities, providing psycho-social support for complainants, the Solicitor-General has issued new prosecution guidelines, and later this year will introduce legislation to address long-standing issues with our sexual violence laws.”

The report is available at the Ministry of Justice website.

The Ministry of Social Development funds a professional helpline for anyone affected by sexual harm. The Safe to talk sexual harm helpline is available for free, 24/7 at: