So courts are failing to deliver justice around sexual violence, there's a process in place to review it all, and the suggestions the Law Commission has come up with - after international research into alternatives - are roundly applauded.
The consultation received about 500 submissions, which reinforces how important this issue is to the New Zealand public. The review began under Simon Power, who said in his valedictory speech that justice in cases of sexual violence was a debate parliament needed to have:
It's our job to tackle the tough issues, the issues the public pays us to front up to, and come to a view on. There are many debates that Parliament does not want to have for fear of losing votes or not staying on message: abortion, adoption law, children’s rights, and sexual violence issues. I don't share this timid view.We need politicians brave enough to "tackle the tough issue" of a failing justice system. Is the current Justice Minister, Judith Collins too "timid" to follow up on the Law Commission review of alternative trial processes for sexual violence and see this lengthy, considered and well-informed process through? Is this review going to be pushed into the "Too Hard" basket, waiting until we have a politician who will be brave enough?
Surely people don’t run for Parliament claiming they want to “make a difference”, only to vote for the status quo, otherwise presumably they would be so satisfied with the way the country was running that they wouldn’t feel the drive to seek public office in the first place.
Sexual violence is not a political issue in the conventional sense. It's a community issue, affecting survivors and people who cause harm, their families, friends, lovers. But we need political leadership to improve our failing justice response, to "make a difference."
If we care about survivors, we need to contact Judith Collins and ask her to be tough enough to push for the changes the justice system needs.
We need to let her know we are waiting, or we may be stuck with a status quo everyone agrees is an abject failure.