Family violence is a dreadful blight on New Zealand society. For too long it has not been sufficiently addressed. The current administration, and the Minister of Justice, are now making a determined effort to address this problem.
As part of that enterprise the Law Commission has been asked, as a matter of priority, to address various aspects of this problem. These include a review of the appropriate court structures and procedures to improve the position of victims, and some specific areas of the law.
This Issues Paper considers the position of victims of family violence (almost overwhelmingly women) who are driven to commit homicide, and what the consequences in law of their actions should be.
Self-defence and related aspects have for some time now been a contentious subset of this overall problem.
The Commission is strongly of the view that public consultation is important on a topic of this kind. Such consultation is best carried out on the basis of an Issues Paper, to help structure and inform both public and professional debate. The Commission strongly encourages input into that debate. I express the Commission’s thanks to all who take the trouble to respond.
Sir Grant Hammond