Domestic abuse: Police to be given new powers

NZ Herald June 11, 2008

Police will be able to issue immediate orders forcing potentially abusive partners to leave their homes for cool-down periods of up to 72 hours under changes to domestic violence laws unveiled yesterday. Justice Minister Annette King announced the step as part of a wider raft of changes to the Domestic Violence Act that followed a major review and consultation last year. A recommendation for such short-term orders was widely supported in that review and Ms King said it provided families with greater immediate protection. “It is a big change and something that will be widely applauded.”

The idea was broached in 2006 by Assistant Police Commissioner Roger Carson after similar measures were introduced in Australian states in 2004 and 2005. It was picked up by National Party leader John Key as party policy in November last year. Police are called to about 71,000 domestic violence cases a year. They currently have few tools to deal with potentially dangerous situations beyond advising families to leave the home themselves and seek help from family or Women’s Refuge. The new orders would also allow time for victims to apply for longer-term protection orders where necessary.z