Support the Bill! survivors need better access to Justice

Hear_me_roar

Trigger Warning: R*pe, NZ Court System. Auckland Feminist Action stand in support of justice for survivors of sexual abuse and assault. We support the changes to court process through the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill, we commend it to law.

Auckland Feminist Action stand in support of justice for the countless survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault in our society. We support of the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill, which would make the justice system better for survivors when giving evidence and speaking testimony.

We know that only a small percentage of rape cases are reported, and of that small number reported, only around 13% of cases result in conviction. The system is broken, this year, through this bill, we have a chance to improve it.

As survivors, we have our word. We can say what happened, because we survived it.

We call upon all survivors in Aotearoa New Zealand to speak out and email MP’s from the National Party and NZFirst, with your reasons for them to support the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill.

Court has been referred to as “the second rape”, due to how retraumatsing the process of giving evidence can be. We believe this Bill will help people have their day in court, by having their testimony and evidence prerecorded as a video. This bill will ensure that only admissible lines of questioning are shown to the judge or jury. This bill will mean that survivors won’t have to be in the presence of the person who harmed them. This bill will provide some safety to survivors.

Similar legal provisions for survivors in court are already used in Australia and the U.K.

We implore our sitting MP’s to vote this bill through it's second and third reading, and for it to become law, to improve the justice system for survivors giving evidence.

The statistics of rape and abuse in New Zealand are astounding.
1 out of 3 girls may be sexually abused before she turns 16 years old. 1 in 7 boys may be sexually abused by adulthood. Approximately 1 in 5 New Zealand women experience a serious sexual assault. For some women, this happens more than once. Everyone knows many people who are survivors of sexual violation. This is a deeply personal issue for many people.

By not supporting the bill, those MP’s would be siding with abusers and covering up rape, by preventing a better course of justice. Justice must not cause further harm. Justice must not be misleading. Justice must provide the ability for survivors to give evidence without fear or psychological danger. Pre-recorded video makes sure only admissible content is shown. Pre-recorded video gives survivors that ability to speak.

It’s incomprehensible and abhorrent that NZFirst are perversely preventing a vital improvement to the justice system, by stalling on a bill which is essential for justice for victims of rape and sexual abuse. Yet, it is not a surprise to us that some criminal defense lawyers are against the bill, as their job is to defend their clients, not reach justice. We believe that a fair trial can be achieved via pre-recorded video, and that pre-recorded video makes a more fair trial, taking into account the needs of survivors. Survivors should not have to be further traumatised in a court presence power-dymanic with their abusers. Survivors deserve the respect of their own space and for the justice system to provide safety. Survivors should be given back the dignity to make their decision of how they want it to go through the testimony process.

It is time for better justice, and this change is vital for survivors to be able to participate in the justice process.

We encourage everyone to contact NZFirst MP's and National MP's and ask them to serve the betterment of society and support the Bill.

Tag them in social media if you would like to. We can use the hashtags #MeToo #MeTooNZ and #JusticeForSurvivorsNZ

NZFirst and National Party MP’s must vote to support the passing of this bill, to enshrine in law, a safer, less traumatic justice process.

Rape culture is pervasive. This change to the court system and legal process is essential for justice.

Contact our facebook page if you would like more info or support.
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Statistics reference: https://www.helpauckland.org.nz/sexual-abuse-statistics.html
http://legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2019/0185/latest/LMS268266.html
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The following telephone helplines are free and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
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Help Auckland, Support for sexual abuse survivors: 0800 623 1700
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Youthline: Free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz
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Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
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Rape Crisis: 0800 883 300 (for support after rape or sexual assault)
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Depression and anxiety helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counselor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).
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For counselling referral, ACC: 0800 735 566

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