New family violence laws set to come into force

Sweeping changes to family violence laws will come into force tomorrow, among them, measures that will strengthen protection orders.

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Among them are measures to strengthen protection orders for victims. Source: 1 NEWS

With about 3,000 protection orders issued each year, under the new law the process of applying for an order will be simpler.

Contact with the abusive partner is banned, but it had been unclear if that included online contact.

"A big way that people are tormented by perpetrators is through the use of social media and digital communication and it's great to see that being brought in in the legislation," says Bronwyn Marshall, Wellington police superintendent.

The law expands the definition of family violence to include coercive and controlling behaviour, but proving that could be challenging.

Under the wider definition, police will consider more factors when issuing a protection order such as the abuse of pets, withholding care and dowry abuse.

Although it was outlawed in India in 1961, dowry cases are still happening in New Zealand.

Amongst the new changes, 10 Government agencies will now share more information on offenders.

"They're expected to collaborate to identify, stop, prevent and respond to family violence," says Jan Logie, Under-secretary to the Justice Minister.