The Family Violence (Amendments) Act makes changes to a number of Acts to improve responses to family violence in both the criminal and civil law changes to better protect children and victims in parenting arrangements.
From 3 December 2018, the Act will:
- ensures that the safety of victims, including children, is the priority when courts make decisions on bail
- creates the new serious offence of strangulation or suffocation
- makes it an offence to force someone into marriage or a civil union in New Zealand or overseas
- makes it a specific offence to assault a family member
- enables complainants in a family violence case to give video evidence.
From 1 July 2019, the Act will:
- make breaching of a protection order a specific aggravating factor to be considered at sentencing
- introduce a 'family violence flag' that can be attached to an offence so that court staff are aware of the potential risks associated with the case.
- empowers judges considering applicatoins under the Care of Children Act (CoCA) to make temporary protection orders where a CoCA order wouldn't provide enough protection.
- empowers judges to impose protective conditions for child handover arrangements if there's been family violence.
- requires judges to consider the existence or breach of a protection order when they assess a child's safety.
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