Don’t sell sex crime victims short

Published: Thu 8 Mar 2012 02:36 PM
Justice Spokesperson
Don’t sell sex crime victims short
New Zealanders who suffer criminal sexual abuse should not have to undergo ‘revictimisation’ in court, says Labour’s Justice Spokesperson Charles Chauvel.
Charles Chauvel was commenting on reports today that Justice Minister Judith Collins plans to shelve reforms set in motion by her predecessor Simon Power, including moves to an inquisitorial system for victims of sexual crimes.
“This flies in the face of the need to make the justice system more sensitive to the needs of victims of crime,” Charles Chauvel said.
“We are not saying the victims shouldn’t be cross-examined, but that the system could be better.
“Judith Collins comments trivialise the work of the Family Court, and suggests that any existing problems can be resolved by the present review of that court.
“We would all like to see the Family Court functioning effectively, and Labour will support any moves that truly achieve that.
“But that is a completely different issue to the need to ensure that the criminal courts do justice to the victims of sexual offending – especially when those victims are vulnerable due to age or other circumstances. The system continues to fail them, and we must look at ways to do better by them.
“It is a rich irony that the Justice Select Committee started to hear submissions this morning on the Victims of Crime Reform Bill – a measure now in the name of Judith Collins – the day after she signalled the likely shelving of this initiative.
“We need to continue to consider ways to do real justice to the victims of crime – not simply shelve proposals that could make a difference, especially on the basis of spurious reasons,” Charles Chauvel said.

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