A new order that came into effect on 1 January 2015 better protects victims of serious violent and sexual offences.
The Victims’ Orders Against Violent Offenders Act 2014 recognises the effects of this offending on victims and reduces the risk of unwanted contact between victims and their offender.
Victims of violent offences can apply for a non-contact order to prohibit the offender from contacting them in any way. A judge can also impose special conditions such as stopping an offender from living or working in particular areas, or visiting those areas. An order can also cover an offender’s associates.
A victim can apply for a non-contact order if they were a victim of a violent offence where the offender was sent to prison for more than two years. An application can be made at any time after the offender is sentenced. However, a non-contact order cannot be put in place if the person applying already has a protection order or a restraining order against the offender.
An application for a non-contact order is made through the civil jurisdiction. There are no filing or hearing fees, and an applicant can request that their contact details not be given to the offender.
More information, including application forms, is available from the Ministry of Justice website, www.justice.govt.nz/courts/civil/civil-disputes/non-contact-orders.