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Family violence experts in the criminal court : the need to fill the void Mark Henaghan, Jacqueline Short and Pauline Gulliver

By: Henaghan, Mark.
Contributor(s): Short, Jacqueline | Gulliver, Pauline.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleSeries: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law.Publisher: Taylor & Francis, 2021Subject(s): CRIMINAL JUSTICE | DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | EVIDENCE | FAMILY VIOLENCE | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | LAW REFORM | LEGAL PROFESSION | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: DOI: 10.1080/13218719.2021.1894262 In: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 2021, Advance online publication, 27 April 2021Summary: This paper describes the role of family violence expert evidence and argues for the need for adequately trained and experienced specialists to provide that evidence within the criminal jurisdiction of the District Court and High Court in Aotearoa New Zealand. Court processes for the criminal jurisdiction were reviewed to consider the roles and the requirements of expert witnesses in cases of family violence. Given the lack of expert witness training in Aotearoa New Zealand, components of best practice in other jurisdictions, including examples of international expert witness skills and knowledge were sought. Unique skills and experience are necessary for an accurate description of a history of family violence. Experience working with survivors and offenders provides an understanding of the nature and dynamics of violence experienced within a relationship and allows experts to address myths and misconceptions, particularly in relation to the effective nature of the current family violence safety system. Without a contemporary, comprehensive understanding of family violence across police prosecution, judges and lawyers, expert evidence from trained and experienced specialists is required. To enhance the educative role of family violence expert evidence, such evidence should be called by the Court. (Authors' abstract). Record #7112
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Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 2021, Advance online publication, 27 April 2021

This paper describes the role of family violence expert evidence and argues for the need for adequately trained and experienced specialists to provide that evidence within the criminal jurisdiction of the District Court and High Court in Aotearoa New Zealand. Court processes for the criminal jurisdiction were reviewed to consider the roles and the requirements of expert witnesses in cases of family violence. Given the lack of expert witness training in Aotearoa New Zealand, components of best practice in other jurisdictions, including examples of international expert witness skills and knowledge were sought. Unique skills and experience are necessary for an accurate description of a history of family violence. Experience working with survivors and offenders provides an understanding of the nature and dynamics of violence experienced within a relationship and allows experts to address myths and misconceptions, particularly in relation to the effective nature of the current family violence safety system. Without a contemporary, comprehensive understanding of family violence across police prosecution, judges and lawyers, expert evidence from trained and experienced specialists is required. To enhance the educative role of family violence expert evidence, such evidence should be called by the Court. (Authors' abstract). Record #7112