CEDAW Committee Concluding Observations on New Zealand now available

The CEDAW Committee has published Concluding Observations from its recent review of New Zealand. The section on violence against women is below:

Violence against women

"22. The Committee takes note of the measures taken by the State party to protect women against violence through the legislative and institutional frameworks. At the legislative level, this includes the enactment of a number of criminal justice changes to strengthen protection of the rights of victims, such as the powers extended to the police to issue on-the-spot safety orders to protect victims of domestic violence. The Committee also notes that legislation also enables criminal courts to issue protection orders on behalf of victims in cases of domestic violence.

23. While the Committee notes the work of the Task Force for Action on Violence within Families, it is concerned at the lower level of representation among its members, down from chief executive to low-level officials. The Committee also notes that many of the recommendations in the report of the Task Force for Action on Sexual Violence have not yet been implemented. The Committee also notes the increase in the number of Family Violence Courts, and the adoption of several awareness-raising initiatives such as the “It’s not OK” campaign, aimed at decreasing rates of family violence. Despite these positive developments, the Committee is concerned about the continued high and increasing levels of violence against women and the low rates of reporting and conviction, particularly relating to sexual violence. The Committee notes with concern insufficient statistical data on violence against women, especially on violence against Māori women, migrant women and women with disabilities.

24. The Committee calls upon the State party:

(a) To take the necessary measures to encourage the reporting of domestic and sexual violence cases, including by ensuring that education professionals, health-care providers and social workers are fully familiar with relevant legal provisions and are sensitized to all forms of violence against women and are capable of complying with their obligation to report cases;

(b) To strengthen training for the police, public prosecutors, the judiciary and other relevant government bodies on domestic and sexual violence;

(c) To provide adequate assistance and protection to women victims of violence, including Māori and migrant women, by ensuring that they receive the necessary legal and psychosocial services;

(d) To improve the level of representation on the Task Force for Action on Violence within Families and ensure appropriate resourcing with a view to enhancing the perception of its status within the State party;

(e) To ensure systematic collection and publication of data, disaggregated by sex, ethnicity, type of violence, and by the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim; to collect data on the number of women killed by partners or ex-partners; and to monitor the effectiveness of legislation, policy and practice relating to all forms of violence against women and girls."

The Committee also made the following general comment:

"The Committee recalls the obligation of the State party to systematically and continuously implement all the provisions of the Convention and views the concerns and recommendations identified in the present concluding observations as requiring the priority attention of the State party between now and the submission of the next periodic report. The Committee notes with concern a number of challenges that continue to impede the full implementation of the Convention in the State party, including the recourse to gender neutral language with respect to gender based violence, including domestic violence; pay inequality and pay equity; the status of vulnerable groups of women, including women with disabilities and minority women; the impact of the 2011 earthquake on women; the impact of policy changes such as the financial cuts in legal aid schemes; adequacy of targets and benchmarks to advance women’s rights; and the insufficient dissemination and promotion of the Convention. Consequently, the Committee urges the State party to focus on those areas in its implementation activities and to report on actions taken and results achieved in its next periodic report. The Committee calls upon the State party to submit the present concluding observations to all relevant ministries, to the Parliament, and to the judiciary, so as to ensure their full implementation."

'Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: New Zealand', July 2012   Download PDF (235 KB)


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