Attack survivor wants law change for offenders found not guilty because of insanity

  • 18/11/2018
A nurse, head in hands
Ms Hamer was beaten by a patient while working as a mental health nurse. Photo credit: Getty

A survivor of a brutal attack believes a law change granting more rights to victims of people believed not guilty by reason of insanity would improve her trauma recovery.

Mental health nurse Wendy Hamer was beaten unrecognisable by a patient who has since been shifted back to Nelson, not far from her workplace.

Ms Hamer says she doesn't legally have to be consulted if he moves, and launched a petition alongside National MP Nick Smith on Saturday.

"We are asking for the same rights, the same protections as other victims of crime - which we are not afforded because of their insanity defence."

Stuff has previously reported Ms Hamer received a letter telling her the man who attacked her would be moving into her community, although the DHB notes she did not have to be sent one.

The attacker may be granted leave from the hospital, or even be released further down the line.

Any hospital leave must initially be supervised by a staff member, and the escorts can only be reduced with approval from the Director of Mental Health.

Ms Hamer doesn't know where her attacker sits in the process and says knowing more about what's going on could help her recovery.

"I have a right to recovery, I have a right to look after my own health and wellbeing, and I don't want that law impacting my ability to keep myself well - and others, obviously," she said.

Ms Hamer's petition is open until March next year before it'll be sent to Parliament.


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