New Zealand Law Society - Family violence bail information pilot expanded

Family violence bail information pilot expanded

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Amy Adams
Justice Minister Amy Adams. 

A pilot programme which gives judges more information about the risk posed by defendants in family violence bail applications has been expanded.

The pilot was announced in September 2015 by Justice Minister Amy Adams, and has been running in the Porirua and Christchurch District Courts.

From 1 May 2016 District Courts in Wellington, Hutt Valley, Masterton, Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kaitaia will also trial the initiative for six months.

Judges and registrars receive a summary report for every family violence bail application. This details whether Police have previously received calls for service in relation to family violence incidents involving the defendant, and signals if they are subject to any police safety orders or protection orders, or have breached such orders.

"Initiatives like this have the potential to improve how the justice sector keeps victims safe, manages offenders and holds them to account, and breaks cycles of violence," Ms Adams says.

"Before the pilot began, the information judges received depended on whether bail was opposed or not. It did not always detail whether a defendant's previous offences were family violence related, and the information may not always have been available to the judge when the case was first called."