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Court support pilot for survivors of sexual violence

Work is underway to explore the best way to effectively support survivors of sexual violence going through the criminal justice system.

A pilot service is being run in Auckland which is providing psycho-social support for victims/survivors of sexual violence going through the criminal justice system.

This work aims to address a gap identified by the Law Commission’s 2015 report ‘The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence.’

The trauma experienced by sexual violence victims/survivors can be exacerbated by the justice system. Insensitive treatment can result in secondary victimisation.

Through the pilot, victims/survivors are being supported leading up to, during and after the criminal justice process. The type of support provided will include (but is not limited to):

  • therapeutic social work
  • preparing the victim/survivor before trial, during, and follow up support afterward
  • in-person support for Police processes and to prepare for cross-examination
  • support through pre-trial viewing of Evidential Video Interview (EVI)
  • assist with Victim Impact Statements
  • provide support at trial, sentencing and probation reviews
  • liaising with court staff and Victim Advisors on behalf of the survivor
  • monitoring the safety and wellbeing of survivors, helping them assess their needs (housing, support etc) and linking them to the appropriate government or NGO agency or service
  • facilitating access to appropriate legal representation if requested.

The pilot service is being provided by Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation Charitable Trust (HELP) until 30 June 2019. Auckland was chosen as the pilot location because of its large metropolitan area, with a highly diverse population and a specialist sexual violence court pilot in operation.

We are working closely with the Ministry of Justice on this project.

The pilot will be independently evaluated by Malatest International and the findings will inform any future service design for delivering psycho-social support of this type.

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