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Improving the justice response to victims of sexual violence : victims' experiences This report was written by Tania Boyer, Sue Allison and Helen Creagh from Gravitas Research and Strategy Limited

By: Boyer, Tania.
Contributor(s): Allison, Sue | Creagh, Helen | Gravitas Research and Strategy.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Wellington, New Zealand : Ministry of Justice, 2018Description: electronic document (144 pages) ; PDF file.Subject(s): ABUSED MEN | ABUSED WOMEN | COURTS | CRIMINAL JUSTICE | JUSTICE | POLICE PROCEDURES | RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS | SENTENCING | SEXUAL VIOLENCE | SUPPORT SERVICES | VICTIMS OF CRIMES | VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: Click here to access online | Victims Information Summary: The overarching objective of this research was to explore the experiences of victims of sexual violence in New Zealand who have journeyed through the justice system in the past three years, with focus on what aspects risk revictimisation or retraumatisation for victims through the justice process and how it could be improved for victims. Data for this research was collected via n=37 interviews with participants (nearly all face-to-face) and two self-completion questionnaires. Participants were primarily invited to take part in the research via Court Victim Advisors (CVAs) and then chose to opt in to participate. (From the Executive summary). Background to this report: The Law Commission report on the justice response to sexual violence (2015) (#4889) considered whether the processes for justice in cases of sexual violence required changing to improve fairness, effectiveness, efficiency, and how complainants experienced the court system. The report found that the justice system often failed to respond appropriately to victims of sexual violence and that this could lead to significant secondary victimisation and contribute to the low rates of reporting of sexual violence to NZ Police. Fear and distrust of the legal system is another reason that victims often do not report incidents of sexual violence perpetrated against them. . The Ministry of Justice is currently implementing a suite of operational changes aimed at improving the experience for sexual violence complainants in the criminal justice system, with an emphasis on reducing the risk of revictimisation (follow the website link to see information for victims of sexual violence). In addition, the Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) is considering legislative reforms in response to other outstanding Law Commission recommendations. To be able to assess the impact of these operational changes and any potential legislative reforms in the future, the Ministry of Justice commissioned Gravitas Research and Strategy to collect baseline data on the perspectives of victims of sexual violence who have had some contact with the justice system, that is the Police and courts, over the previous three years. Record #6099
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The overarching objective of this research was to explore the experiences of victims of sexual violence in New Zealand
who have journeyed through the justice system in the past three years, with focus on what aspects risk
revictimisation or retraumatisation for victims through the justice process and how it could be improved for
victims.
Data for this research was collected via n=37 interviews with participants (nearly all face-to-face) and two self-completion questionnaires. Participants were primarily invited to take part in the research via Court Victim Advisors (CVAs) and then chose to opt in to participate. (From the Executive summary).

Background to this report:

The Law Commission report on the justice response to sexual violence (2015) (#4889) considered whether the processes for justice in cases of sexual violence required changing to improve fairness, effectiveness,
efficiency, and how complainants experienced the court system.

The report found that the justice system often failed to respond appropriately to victims of sexual violence and that this could lead to significant secondary victimisation and contribute to the low rates of reporting of sexual violence to NZ Police. Fear and distrust of the legal system is another reason that victims often do not report incidents of sexual violence perpetrated against them.
.
The Ministry of Justice is currently implementing a suite of operational changes aimed at improving the experience for sexual violence complainants in the criminal justice system, with an emphasis on reducing the risk of revictimisation (follow the website link to see information for victims of sexual violence). In addition, the Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) is considering legislative reforms in response to other outstanding Law Commission recommendations. To be able to assess the impact of these operational changes and any potential legislative reforms in the future, the Ministry of Justice commissioned Gravitas Research and Strategy to collect baseline data on the perspectives of victims of sexual violence who have had some contact with the justice system, that is the Police and courts, over the previous three years. Record #6099