ACT Party, Women's Refuge disappointed $20 million victim support scheme helps more alleged perpetrators than victims

The ACT Party and Women's Refuge say they're disappointed by the revelation the Government's victim support scheme has helped more alleged perpetrators than victims. 

In 2020, the Government earmarked $20 million to support victims of non-fatal strangulation in court. The cash was meant to provide medical experts in up to 870 court cases involving non-fatal strangulation, but it's only funded 86 and more than half of those have been to support the defence case. 

The ACT Party's spokesperson for social development Karen Chhour told AM the initiative hasn't done what it was intended to do. 

"This fund was specifically for the victims - how do we think the victims will feel when they are knowing that this fund, [which] was meant for them is being used against them? That's quite insulting."

Chhour added it's hard enough to leave a violent situation. 

"[To] then find out that the funding that was meant to be for you is actually working against you."

Women's Refuge CEO Ang Jury told Newshub Late she couldn't understand where the initiative went wrong. 

"I was more than disappointed to hear that actually, more than disappointed. It's not a good result at all," Jury said.

"I'm not even really sure how this has happened to be quite honest."

Jury told Newshub Late presenter Ingrid Hipkiss strangulation is the "biggest red flag that you can imagine". 

"It's the big red flag precursor to homicide. It's an extremely dangerous thing that people don't understand."

In a statement to AM, Justice Minister Kiri Allan said she would like to see "genuine reform" in how victims are treated in Aotearoa's justice system.

"By its very nature, the justice system has developed to be offender centric rather than victim-centric."

Watch the full interviews above.