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People should feel safe at home with their family. 

For most of us, this is the reality.  Sadly, for some of us, it is not.

For some people home is a place of terror.

Half of New Zealand’s homicides are family violence related.  Last year, Police responded to 110,000 family violence call-outs.  There were children present at nearly two-thirds of these call-outs.

The National-led Government knows that to help solve social problems, often means we have to confront difficult and distressing issues.

This has never stopped us from facing the hard problems and taking action, particularly where we think we can make a positive difference in people’s lives.

So we are making sweeping changes to family violence legislation.  The package changes both civil and criminal laws, and provides system-level changes to support new ways of working. It will cost $132 million over four years.

Across 16 different portfolios, Ministers and departments are working together to redesign the way our system prevents and responds to family violence.

We’re going to ensure all family violence is clearly identified and risk information is properly shared.

We want people to be able to get help without having to go to court, and we’ll put the safety of victims at the heart of bail decisions.

Our changes include creating new offences for strangulation, coercion to marry, and assault on a family member.  We will also make offending while on a Protection Order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing.

It’s going to be easier to apply for Protection Orders and we’ll enable approved non-governmental organisations to apply on a victim’s behalf. 

We will improve protection and care for children by better provision for the rights of children under Protection Orders, aligning Care of Children orders to the family violence regime, and trialling supervised handovers.

We’ll also make evidence gathering in family violence cases easier for Police and less traumatic for victims.

But family violence is not a problem that laws and Government alone can solve. 

We all need to think differently and do our bit.  This Government is putting a stake in the ground and taking the first step for all New Zealanders.

I had a very interesting day when hosting Hon. Judith Collins in the electorate. We visited the Te Awamutu and Otorohanga Police Stations and the Te Awamutu Corrections Office with a tour of Waikeria Prison. I was deeply impressed with all I observed and heard.  We have some outstanding people working in tough environments and their dedication and contribution to making our communities safer is very obvious.   

I would also like to thank the residents of Beattie Rest Home for putting on a splendid afternoon tea for the Minister and I.

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