Victims of serious violent and sexual crimes will be better protected by a new order to help prevent their offender from contacting them, Justice Minister Judith Collins says.
The Victims’ Orders Against Violent Offenders Bill, which passed its final reading today, creates a ‘non-contact order’ to reduce the risk of unwanted contact between victims and their offender.
“Victims of serious crime deserve peace of mind, so they can recover and move on with their lives,” Ms Collins says.
“This Government has made perfectly clear its commitment to putting victims at the heart of our criminal justice system. Introducing these non-contact orders is one more way to ensure victims feel safe and protected from further offending.”
The new orders can be applied to a person who has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for a specified violent or sexual offence. The orders may also prohibit the offender from contacting the victim in any way, including by electronic means. Where necessary, the orders may ban the offender from entering, living, or working in a particular area.
Victims will be able to apply to the court for a non-contact order at any time after the offender has been sentenced. An order can also cover an offender’s associates.
Ms Collins says the new orders reinforce the Government’s commitment to putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.
“The passage of this Bill supports this Government’s unrelenting commitment to putting victims first. We’re ensuring victims’ are protected and their voices in our criminal justice system remain strong.”
This measure tips the balance of justice in favour of victims.