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Court Support Service

In Budget 2019, MSD received $90.3 million of funding over four years to invest in specialist sexual violence services.

The 2015 Law Commission report (The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence) found that New Zealand’s justice system often fails to respond appropriately to victims/survivors of sexual violence contributing to low reporting rates and high rates of secondary victimisation. A portion of Budget 2019 funding ($6.348 million) will be used to develop a support service for victims/survivors of sexual violence who are going through the criminal justice system. The implementation of the service will be rolled out across the country over four years.

Court Support Services will focus on victim’s/survivor’s mental, spiritual and physical support needs while they are going through the criminal justice process, to reduce the severity and longevity of trauma.

Service Guidelines for the Court Support Service have been developed in consultation with specialist sexual violence service providers. MSD is committed to continuous improvement and will regularly review these guidelines.

During 2020/2021, MSD is purchasing Court Support Services in the following:

  • Whangārei
  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch.

Court support pilot for survivors of sexual violence

In 2018/2019, MSD funded a court support pilot in Auckland, to provide support for victims/survivors of sexual violence who are going through the criminal justice system. The pilot service was provided by Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation Charitable Trust (HELP Auckland).

This pilot was independently evaluated by Malatest International (see report below), to understand:

  • Whether the pilot service was effective in reducing the impact of re-traumatisation
  • Whether victim/survivors of sexual violence were engaged in the criminal justice process and more informed about what to expect throughout the process
  • What was required by HELP Auckland to deliver the pilot, and
  • How the pilot service interacted with key stakeholders within the criminal justice system.

Findings from the evaluation showed that the pilot service:

  • Had a positive impact on victims’/survivors’ mental and emotional wellbeing before, during and after court, and
  • Highlighted the work undertaken to ensure victims/survivors were well informed and had realistic expectations about processes within court.

Findings from the pilot service and evaluation were used to inform the development of Budget 2019 Court Support Services.

Literature Review on International Best Court Support Models for Victims-Survivors of Sexual Violence

This literature review was undertaken to provide MSD with an overview of international psychosocial court support service models for victims-survivors of sexual violence going through the criminal justice system. This review provides an overview of various international court support models, and explores the commonalities of what is considered best practice, the challenges for implementation, and recommendations for the Aotearoa New Zealand context.

Guide to Criminal Justice Processes

This guide provides information on criminal justice process for MSD providers of Court Support Services. The guide provides a snapshot of the criminal justice process, the areas which may be particularly difficult for victims/survivors and other stakeholders which are involved in the criminal justice processes.

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