One million New Zealanders are directly affected by family violence and the Government is moving to strengthen legislation covering this.
The Family Violence Amendment Act came into effect this month. Strangulation, coerced marriage and assault on a person in a family relationship are now offences under the law.
Strangulation is a common means of assault in family relationships but has been difficult to distinguish under the Crimes Act. Under the new regime strangulation of a family member carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment. Within hours of the new legislation coming into force it was used to charge an Auckland man withstrangulation
strangulation after a family harm incident.
The changes, designed to help curb family violence, are part of the Family Violence (Amendment) Act. The legislation was passed unanimously last month. The maximum seven year sentence for strangulation reflects the seriousness of the offending. The new legislation also allows victims of family violence offending
offending to have their Victim Video Statements played in court. Police no longer have to apply to court to have these interviews played on behalf of victims. The larger Family Violence Act – an update to the Domestic Violence Act 1995 – will come into effect soon, and Portia plans to deliver public workshops on the new law throughout 2019.