Judges given family violence records
Judges will be given more access to alleged offenders' family violence records in a bid to reduce the number of domestic incidents taking place.
New information sharing rules announced by Justice Minister Amy Adams will give criminal court judges more access to information from Family Court proceedings, including affidavits, victim impact statements, and summaries of facts previously not available.
"Before now, this could be shared only if there had been a protection order in place when the family violence offence happened. The extra information will support criminal court judges making decisions such as whether to grant bail or set sentence conditions," Ms Adams said.
The information would now also include additional details such as records from previous relationships, she said.
About 1200 people who have protection orders made against them in a Family Court also end up involved in criminal violence-related cases each year.
The information sharing will also work the other way, with the Family Court being given more details of criminal records when considering protection orders.
The new changes follow the launch of a test programme this week which will give judges in Christchurch and Porirua easier access to an alleged perpetrators' records when making bail decisions in family violence cases.