Law change would aid victims
Survivors of sexual violence may no longer have to face questions about their sexual history in court if a proposed law change goes through. The changes are aimed at avoiding the revictimisation of sexual violence survivors. Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice, Jan Logie, said ‘‘we know fear and anxiety about appearing in court and going through cross-examination prevents many people from reporting what has happened to them.’’ The changes target the judicial process, and included giving sexual violence survivors the right to choose how to give evidence and undergo cross-examination. That could be via audio-visual link or a pre-recorded video. In the cases of a re-trial, the survivor’s evidence could be recorded to avoid having to give it again. HELP Auckland executive director Kathryn McPhillips said it was ‘‘not uncommon’’ for people to refer to the court process as ‘‘the second rape’’.