Chapter 2 understanding family violence
- R1 Judges should continue to receive education, including through the Institute of Judicial Legal Studies, on the dynamics of family violence.
- R2 Regular and ongoing education courses on the dynamics of family violence should be made available to all criminal lawyers, including Crown prosecutors and defence counsel.
- R3 Police should receive regular education on the dynamics of family violence.
- R4 Education recommended above should:
- reflect contemporary social science understanding of family violence and victims’ responses;
- explain the primary victim/predominant aggressor analysis in intimate partner violence; and
- identify common misconceptions of family violence that persist today and their implications in the criminal justice system.
Chapter 7 proposals to reform self-defence
- R5 A new provision should be inserted into the Crimes Act 1961 to ensure that, where a person is responding to family violence, section 48 may apply even if that person is responding to a threat that is not imminent.
- R6 The Ministry of Justice should consider whether the term “family violence” should be consistent with the definition of domestic violence in the Domestic Violence Act 1995, incorporating any amendments that may be made following the Ministry of Justice’s current review of domestic violence legislation, or whether an inclusive definition of family violence is preferred, including, but not limited to, the definition of domestic violence in the Domestic Violence Act 1995.
- R7 The Evidence Act 2006 should be amended to include provisions based on sections 322J and 322M(2) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) to provide for a broad range of family violence evidence to be admitted in support of claims of self-defence and to make it clear that such evidence may be relevant to both the subjective and objective elements in section 48 of the Crimes Act 1961.
CHAPTER 9 observations from the cases
- R8 The Solicitor-General should, when next reviewing the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines, consider whether they should include express reference to the potential relevance of a defendant’s history as a victim of family violence.
CHAPTER 10 is a partial defence justified?
- R9 No new partial defence or separate homicide offence should be introduced in New Zealand.
CHAPTER 11 sentencing for homicide
- R10 The Sentencing Act 2002 should be amended as follows:
- amending section 9(2)(c) to clarify that “conduct of the victim” includes prior family violence against the offender; and
- amending section 9(2)(e) to clarify that “diminished intellectual capacity or understanding” includes any impairment resulting from being subject to family violence.
- R11 The Ministry of Justice should undertake further policy work to address the issues noted in this Report in relation to sections 86D(4) and 86E of the Sentencing Act 2002 as they apply to homicide offenders in exceptional circumstances and specifically:
- consider the position of victims of family violence who kill their abusers in situations where the three strikes regime would mandate a life sentence; and
- consider how to amend the legislation to allow judges to impose a finite sentence in deserving cases.