Local services are applauding Minister of Justice Amy Adams making combating family violence her top priority and her Government's decision to review the adequacy of current legislation in responding to family violence.

Women's Refuge Whanganui and jigsaw whanganui are co-hosting a forum to stimulate responses to the Government's recently-released discussion document Strengthening New Zealand's legislative response to Family Violence.

The forum will be held at 5pm on Thursday at jigsaw whanganui, 236 Victoria Ave.

Tim Metcalfe, jigsaw whanganui chief executive, said everybody concerned about the adequacy of the current laws to respond to family violence was welcome to attend. They can register by phoning 345 1636 or emailing admin@jigsawwhanganui.org.nz


Mr Metcalfe says the forum will follow a community circle approach.

He said four speakers with considerable experience and knowledge of working to address family violence will address the meeting. They included Sarah Little, a partner with law firm Horsley Christie, Whanganui Police family violence coordinator Sergeant Cathy Dalton, the Women's Refuge manager and Ministry of Justice victims advisor Raama Brownlie.

"There has been increasing frustration that our country's system of laws are not matching our community's aspirations and best practices in preventing and responding to family violence," Mr Metcalfe said.

The discussion document proposes updating the definition of violence to include 'coercive control', creating a stand-alone family violence offence, making it easier to apply for domestic protection orders, requiring police to arrest for all breaches of protection orders, creating a presumption of disclosing information across government sector agencies when family violence concerns arise and ensuring the fullest possible information is made available to judges.

Submissions close September 18.