Sexual violence court pilot announced

Judges will be specially trained in how to deal with sexual violence offending (File)
Judges will be specially trained in how to deal with sexual violence offending (File)

Auckland and Whangarei are to trial "sexual violence courts" with changes aimed at speeding up the process and reducing trauma for those involved.

From December the two-and-a-half year pilot will be held in normal district courts and judges will be specially trained in how to deal with sexual violence offending, it was announced on Thursday. There will also be more intensive and pro-active pre-trial management.

"Timeliness is clearly an issue. Research tells us that lengthy proceedings may delay recovery when people have to keep fresh in their minds over a long period past distressing experiences," Chief District Court judge, Judge Jan-Marie Doogue said.

The pilot will cover rape, sexual violation, incest, sexual grooming and sexual abuse imagery cases, but not extend to sexual violence related to homicides.

Justice Minister Amy Adams welcomed the $130,000 pilot programme.

"Sexual offences victims have been through a harrowing ordeal. We need victims to have confidence in the justice system. If we can resolve their cases more quickly, they can move on with their recovery sooner."

A previous version of this story said the pilot would see cases heard in front of a judge rather than a jury. This is not the case, but is one of the alternative ways of dealing with sexual violence cases that's been suggested by the law commissioner.

NZN/Newshub.