Chapter 4
The court experience of complainants


4.1The preceding chapter sets out the mechanics of the trial process in sexual violence cases. This chapter describes those features of the trial process that shape and affect the experience of complainants and that we understand to present particular hurdles and difficulties. This is with the proviso that all victims of sexual violence are different and their experiences within the criminal justice system differ.

4.2Our examination of the trial process is limited to those matters that arise after a charge has been filed. It does not include the investigation by Police and the decision to prosecute. We note that in 2011, From “Real Rape” to Real Justice: Prosecuting Rape in New Zealand highlighted issues with the investigation and prosecution stages.228 Proposals were made in the 2010 Issues Paper about Police charging decisions.229 In this Report, we have not been able to further examine or develop those parts of the Issues Paper, and we would single that out as an area needing further examination in the future.
228See Yvette Tinsley “Investigation and the decision to prosecute in sexual violence cases” in Elisabeth McDonald and Yvette Tinsley (eds) From “Real Rape” to Real Justice: Prosecuting Rape in New Zealand (Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2011) 120.
229Law Commission Alternative Pre-trial and Trial Processes (NZLC IP30, 2012) proposals 2A and 2B.