Chapter 9
Proposal for reform

Entry into the alternative process

Referral to alternative process

9.70We envisage that complainants would self-refer to a programme provider or be referred from one of several possible points – for instance through a doctor, a sexual violence support agency, including through a Sexual Abuse Assessment and Treatment Service (SAATS) centre; Police; a hospital; a lawyer or via an 0800 phone line or website (as discussed in Part D).

9.71In Part B we recommend that the role of the specialist victims’ advisers under the Ministry of Justice be extended so that they can offer support independently of any trial process. If that recommendation is accepted these advisers could also be expected to inform victims of their options regarding an alternative process.

9.72If a victim was to first approach Police regarding an incident of sexual violence, Police will need to advise the victim of the alternative process as an option for dealing with the incident. Even if Police considered there to be sufficient evidence to file a charge in court in relation to the sexual violence, the option of the alternative process would still need to be put to a victim, with the possibility that the victim may choose not to lay a formal complaint. If the victim does make a complaint, and subsequently the Police decide after investigation not to lay charges, or if prosecution is commenced but discontinued, the victim could be referred or could self-refer to the alternative process.

9.73As is the situation with current Police policy, the decision whether or not to make a formal complaint would continue to lie with the victim.621 Police would still be entitled to investigate and bring a prosecution without the victim’s evidence, even if the victim does not make a formal complaint. However, our understanding is that the Police/Crown prosecutor would be unlikely to force an unwilling victim to give evidence (as a hostile witness) in any proceedings, unless it involved a matter of significant public interest. Therefore, unless there was strong external evidence and it was in the public interest, Police would be unlikely to proceed without a victim’s evidence.622
621The current policy is to work with a victim and offer a choice of whether a report made to Police should be treated as a formal complaint or not: New Zealand Police Adult sexual assault investigation (ASAI) policy and procedures (2013) at 13.
622At 31.