Bold response required to Blueprint

The Government must give urgent consideration to recommendations in The People’s Blueprint if it is serious about tackling New Zealand’s deplorable record of child abuse and domestic violence, Labour’s Justice and Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“The ‘one family, one judge’ court concept, where the same judge provides continuity by hearing all matters involving a particular family as issues unfold, is worth exploring. 

“Based on an American model, the idea of having a single judge working on complex cases and taking on a monitoring role has been trialled before in New Zealand with the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court and the New Beginnings Court. Both have shown the benefits of dealing with multiple issues in one place.

“Alongside this model, the report proposes giving judges a wider range of court orders to deal with the perpetrators of violence, including electronic monitoring.  

“In 2013 almost 4,000 applications were made for protection orders, while in the same year 5,000 protection orders were breached. And for children, there were 148,659 reports of concern to Child Youth and Family. Almost half of the children who died between 2009 and 2012 were known to CYFs.

“We can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different outcome. Our current system needs more than just tweaking. It’s not working for too many families, and that is having a tragic effect.

“A ‘whole-system’ integrated strategy that works across agencies at national, regional and community level must be the next step. My hope is that the Government will hear the voices behind this report and look seriously at the ideas it raises.

“It’s past time to be bold for the sake of our families,” Jacinda Ardern said.