Chapter 10
Is there a need for reform to help sexual violence victims engage with the​
justice system?


10.1This part of the Report examines whether there are gaps in meeting the support and service needs of sexual violence victims that if addressed could increase victim engagement with the criminal justice system and/or an alternative justice process and assist with the greater achievement of victims’ justice needs.

10.2Chapter 10 is concerned with the assistance provided by the sexual violence support sector, including government departments with responsibilities in the field of sexual violence. Chapter 11 focuses on addressing the gaps in services that have an impact on the extent to which victims engage with a justice process (it does not provide a review of frontline services, which is currently being undertaken as part of the Ministry of Social Development’s Inquiry into Funding of Sexual Violence Services). Chapter 12 proposes that a government body with responsibility for sexual violence is needed to address the gaps identified and to lead reform for that purpose.


10.3Part D uses the term “sexual violence support sector” to refer to the range of organisations, departments, and individuals that provide support to victims of sexual violence, whether of a practical, therapeutic, or medical nature (“support and service needs”). This includes those that are located in the community (“community service providers”),665  such as specialist sexual violence organisations, victim support organisations, doctors and nurses, and a wide array of other organisations and individuals that a victim may encounter in the aftermath of an incident of sexual violence, or while sexual violence is ongoing in their lives. In addition to, but independent of, community service providers, there are a range of government bodies that also provide services to victims, which are also discussed in this section (“government service providers”).666

10.4The sexual violence support sector deals with the support and service needs of victims that arise independently of what we refer to in this Report as the “justice system” or a “justice process” (which is when victims are involved with the courts or an alternative process). When victims participate in a justice process they are usually helped by individuals from within the justice sector, for example Ministry of Justice court victim advisers. This assistance may run parallel with external support but for the purposes of this discussion it is viewed as independent of the help given by the support sector.

665For example, HELP, START, Shine, Aviva, and Rape Crisis.
666For example, ACC and Ministry of Social Development.