Proposed law change for domestic violence victims

  • 12/11/2015
Wayne Mapp
Wayne Mapp

The Law Commission is proposing that domestic violence victims who kill their abusers may face a lesser charge than murder.

It's also looking at whether changes should be made to the law of self-defence for victims of family violence.

Lead commissioner Wayne Mapp joined Paul Henry to discuss the issue.

"When victims of family violence kill their abusers, they are often acting in response to years of physical, sexual and psychological abuse," Dr Mapp says.

"These victims are usually charged with murder. Homicide is one of the most important areas of the criminal law and it may not adequately recognise the position of victims of family violence."

Dr Mapp says there have been 23 cases of victims killing abusers in the last 15 years.

The paper is also looking at whether the law of self-defence for victims of family violence should be reformed and if there should be changes to sentencing and evidence law.

Justice Minister Amy Adams asked the commission to look into how the criminal justice system responds to victims of family violence when they are charged with killing their abusive partners.

It came after the family violence death review committee found New Zealand was out of step in the way such cases were treated.

Submissions close on December 18 and the commission will report to Ms Adams by the end of March 2016.

Watch the video to see the full interview with Mr Mapp.