White Ribbon Day puts spotlight on family violence

  • Amy Adams

White Ribbon Day highlights the need for a continued focus on helping to reduce family and sexual violence, Justice Minister Amy Adams says.

The theme for this year’s White Ribbon campaign focuses on respectful relationships between men and women, ‘consent’ as a necessary requirement of all sexual relationships, and challenging attitudes and behaviour around violence against women.

“While the Government has a significant amount of work underway to help reduce family and sexual violence, campaigns like White Ribbon Day are a reminder that there is still a long way to go,” says Ms Adams.

“The rate of family violence in New Zealand is horrific. New Zealand has the highest reported rate of intimate partner violence in the developed world. We know that around half of all violent offence charges in our courts relate to family violence and in 86 per cent of cases of violence against intimate partners the victims are women.

“That’s why I’ve made helping to reduce family and sexual violence one of my core priorities.

“The Government spends $1.4 billion each year responding to family and sexual violence and we’ve made a firm commitment to tackle this issue head on.

“This includes an overhaul of New Zealand’s family violence legislation and implementing a range of family violence initiatives such as the recently announced Chief Victims Advisor to Government.”

Ms Adams says there is also a suite of sexual violence reforms underway including looking at alternative ways for victims to give evidence and ensuring adequate support and advice for victims.

“Last year I asked the Law Commission to make it a top priority to find ways to improve the court experience of victims in sexual offence cases and I expect them to report back shortly.  

“We’re also improving education around sexual assault and consent and helping to support victims of sexual violence by funding a Sexual Violence Advocate as well as specialist sexual violence court advisors who have supported more than 1400 victims in the last year.”