1.18In this Report, we focus our consideration on:
1.19Part 3 considers in detail the interrelated issues of partial defences to murder and sentencing reform, both of which can be utilised to recognise the reduced culpability victims of family violence.
1.21We have also drawn extensively on law reform work in other jurisdictions, particularly the Australian states of Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania, as well as England and Wales, Canada and Ireland.
1.23These principles represent the underlying objectives of our recommendations for reform and are consistent with New Zealand’s international obligations and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
1.24The Commission convened an expert panel to advise it on this reference. The panel was made up of academics, Crown and defence counsel, current and retired judges, victim advocates and Police.
1.26We also held consultation meetings with key stakeholders, including (but not limited to) victim support organisations, the Ministry for Women, the FVDRC, Crown solicitors, the New Zealand Law Society, the Criminal Bar Association, the Public Defence Service, legal academics and experts in family violence.
1.27This Report is divided into three parts.
1.28Part 1 (Chapters 1 to 4) sets the scene of this review. Chapter 1 sets out the scope of the review and our approach to it, and Chapter 2 provides an overview of the present state of knowledge of the dynamics of family violence and how this has evolved over time. In that chapter, we draw on the FVDRC’s Fifth Report, which calls for a shift in how we think about intimate partner violence and victims’ responses. Chapter 3 explains the law of homicide and the criminal trial process and makes some observations as to how the law currently responds to victims of family violence who kill their abusers. Chapter 4 sets out the law reform context to this Report, which includes the history of reform in this area in New Zealand and in other comparable jurisdictions.
1.29Part 2 (Chapters 5 to 7) focuses on the law of self-defence. These chapters set out the current law and explore the problems that arise in applying the law to victims of family violence, before going on to analyse the options for reform.
1.30Part 3 (Chapters 8 to 11) considers how the criminal justice system takes into account the reduced culpability of defendants who kill their abusers in response to family violence, other than in self-defence. Chapter 8 introduces the topic and sets out the options for addressing reduced culpability. Chapter 9 makes a number of observations around how the reduced culpability of a victim of family violence is currently taken into account. Chapter 10 considers and concludes on the question of whether a partial defence is justified, and Chapter 11 goes on to explore the options for sentencing reform.