Domestic violence and elder abuse

Protection from abuse by family and carers

What this chapter covers

This chapter provides information about New Zealand’s domestic violence laws and law protecting older people from abuse by family members or caregivers.

Information about the domestic violence laws

Most of the chapter is about the Domestic Violence Act, and the tools available under that Act for protecting victims of violence and abuse. The chapter explains:

  • the kinds of behaviour that amount to “domestic violence”
  • the types of relationships covered by the domestic violence laws
  • adults’ responsibilities to children in their care, including protecting them from seeing or hearing domestic violence
  • the law against smacking children as punishment
  • Police Safety Orders, which are made by the police to provide immediate, short-term protection against domestic violence
  • how to apply for a protection order from the Family Court
  • what a protection order does, including the different rules (“conditions”) that must be obeyed by the person who’s been violent or abusive
  • non-violence programmes for people who have had a protection order made against them, and support programmes (“safety programmes”) for victims of the abuse and violence
  • how protection orders are enforced by the police and the courts, including what happens if an order is breached
  • how and when a protection order comes to an end
  • what a person can do to challenge a protection order that’s been made against them.

Information about legal protections for older people

The final section in this chapter is about laws that protect older people from abuse and neglect, both under the criminal law and under the domestic violence laws.

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