Police trial video recording victim statements

Image: Pexels

Police will trial using their phones to record statements from victims of family violence in Counties Manukau.

Victims will be able to give their statement through video recording instead of providing a written and signed statement at the police station.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said “The intention is to have these statements played in court. Videos can only be taken with the victim’s consent. They will be uploaded to secure, cloud-based storage while the investigation and court process takes place."

This approach was first piloted in Palmerston North in 2015. According to the Beehive press release:

"In May 2016 it was ruled in the Palmerston North District Court to decline the admissibility of the victim’s video statement to be played in court as their evidence in chief.

That ruling reinforced that changes needed to be made to the Evidence Regulations, recognising considerable technological advancements for obtaining evidence were now available. As a result, the Ministry of Justice amended the Evidence Regulations to include provisions for mobile video records in criminal proceedings relating to family violence. These changes came into effect on 9 January 2017."

Changes to the Evidence Act 2006 were also made through the Evidence Amendment Bill. The changes clarified restrictions on video record evidence. The bill received Royal Assent in September 2016. For further information follow the link.

For background information see these previous NZFVC stories:

Update on Police piloting video statements for family violence victims

Police to trial submission of digital evidence in family violence cases

Related police initiatives in Counties Manukau

In 2016-17, Police have launched the Whangaia Ngā Pā Harakeke pilot scheme in the Counties Manukau, Eastern (Tairāwhiti) and Northland districts. This is a new model for responding to family violence in partnership with iwi, with a particular focus on Māori victims and abusers. The pilot started in Counties Manukau Central and South areas in April 2016. It is planned to be rolled out in Counties Manukau East and West in July 2017.

Selected media

Police programme, Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke, rolls out across south Auckland, Manukau Courier, 05.07.2017

New police project aims to reduce trauma for domestic violence victims, Newstalk ZB, 19.06.2017

Tairāwhiti iwi and Police band together to help reduce family violence, Māori Television, 01.06.2017