Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Glenn inquiry: Judith Collins rules out key recommendation

Judith Collins, left, and Owen Glenn.
Judith Collins, left, and Owen Glenn.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has ruled out reversing the burden of proof in domestic violence cases - one of the key recommendations in the first report of the Glenn Inquiry.

Mrs Collins said this morning she would not consider the proposal, which would replace the adversarial court system with one which would place the burden of proof on alleged perpetrators instead of victims.

Watch: Family violence inquiry: The report

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The recommendation was one of the $2 million Glenn Report's "ideas for change", which stemmed from interviews with 500 people including victims, lawyers and others in the domestic violence and child abuse sector.

Mrs Collins said: "It's really important that we don't change the burden of proof.

We already have ? protection orders which are available on a without notice basis right now.

"The last thing I want to do is have our whole domestic violence work called into question by anybody saying it was impossible to prove that someone hasn't actually assaulted someone."

She also defended the Family Court after the Glenn Inquiry heard it was dysfunctional. Mrs Collins said recent reforms were a step in the right direction.

The reforms were implemented in March, and placed more emphasis on families resolving their conflict outside of court.

Mrs Collins agreed with the inquiry's finding that victims had felt isolated in the court process, and said further reforms were in the pipeline for improving victims' rights.

The minister said some of the victims' comments were very pertinent, but the inquiry had not raised any issues Government was not aware of.

Nevertheless, she anticipated that some Government response was likely once the final recommendations were made and had been fully digested.

She was working with ministers to develop a "full suite" of responses to domestic violence issues.

The inquiry was also highly critical of Child, Youth and Family, saying that case managers were often too judgmental of victims.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she was taking this criticism seriously.

She also said life after domestic violence was often a really emotional time and people could be over-sensitive.

"My experience with front-line case managers is that they do not judge. They care passionately about those children? but we do more often than not put children first and that can cause real upset for some of those mums."

Next story: Mother tells how she escaped from life of fear

- NZ Herald

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