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Tough new laws to curb family violence

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/09/2016

A major overhaul of family violence laws will see new offences created and more support for victims.

Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday announced the changes, saying New Zealand's rate of family violence was unacceptable.

"Police currently respond to 110,000 family violence callouts a year and children are present at nearly two-thirds of these incidents," he said.

"There are too many Kiwi households stuck in a life of fear and despair - they need help."

The new measures include:

* Making the safety of victims a principal consideration in all bail decisions, and central to parenting and property orders

* Flagging all family violence offending on criminal records to ensure the courts and the police know when they are dealing with people with histories of family violence

* Creating new offences of non-fatal strangulation and assault on a family member, with tougher sentences than common assault. Coercion to marry will also be criminalised

* Enforcing tougher penalties for people who commit crimes while subject to a protection order.

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