Media release: Human Rights Foundation calls for review of Family Court processes for protecting children and women

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The Human Rights Foundation is calling for a review, involving all parties, of the Family Court processes for protecting children and women. HRF Chair Peter Hosking says today’s Newsroom report is another wake-up call for the authorities. “HRF lawyers practicing in the Family Court report similar incidents”, he says. “The Family Court has failed to establish processes that ensure that the welfare and interests of the child are the first and paramount consideration – as the law requires them to be. Whatever the conduct of the parents that led to the events in the Newsroom report, it is clear that the children’s interests have not been paramount”.

Peter Hosking says it is also important that the Family Court avoids the defensiveness displayed when responding to the earlier report by the Background Collective about its failure to protect women who have been subjected to violence in the home. Any review of the Family Court needs to involve domestic violence and children’s rights service providers and users of the system as equal partners.

The HRF has long called for the development, in collaboration with domestic and sexual violence service providers and users, of an evidence-based Action Plan to end gender-based violence against women and children. This recommendation was made to the UN Human Rights Council in its 2013 stocktake of New Zealand’s human rights performance. “While a large amount of resources are applied to violence against women and children, and to providing Family Court services, the system lacks an overall strategy that sets out long-term goals and evidence-based processes to achieve them,” says Peter Hosking.


Contact: Peter Hosking 021660275