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Rape, sexual assault and family (domestic) violence

Sexual crimes: Rape, sexual violation and other sexual assaults

The laws that deal with sexual crimes in New Zealand generally don’t refer to anyone’s gender or sexual orientation.

In this section we explain about the crimes of rape, sexual violation and indecent assault.

Rape, sexual violation and other sexual assaults are crimes, whether the people are of different or the same genders or sexes

Crimes Act 1961, s 3 (definitions of “genitalia” and “sexual connection”) and ss 128, 128B

Rape and sexual violation are very serious crimes, punishable by up to 20 years’ jail. This includes when someone:

  • penetrates your vagina with their penis
  • penetrates your vagina with their finger or another part of their body, or with a physical object
  • penetrates your anus with their penis or finger or other part of their body, or with a physical object
  • touches your penis, vagina or anus with their mouth or tongue.

It’s also sexual violation if the other person is doing any of these things with your consent to start with, and then you tell them you want them to stop but they keep on doing it.

The technical meaning of “rape” in New Zealand law

    Crimes Act 1961, ss 128, 128B

    In New Zealand law, the word “rape” is restricted to cases of a male penetrating a female’s vagina with his penis. However, under the law this is just one of two types of the crime of “sexual violation”. The other type – “unlawful sexual connection” – covers all the other types of sexual assault described above, and it has the same maximum penalty (20 years’ jail) as cases of “rape” of a female by a male.

Crimes Act 1961, s 135 (definitions of “genitalia” and “sexual connection”) and ss 128, 128B

If someone intentionally touches your penis, vagina or anus with their fingers or hands, this could be a different crime called “indecent assault”. Indecent assault carries a maximum penalty of seven years’ jail. It makes no difference whether they’re of a different sex or gender from you or the same sex or gender.

Intimate partner violence in same-sex couples (family or domestic violence)

New Zealand’s family violence protections apply to same-sex couples

If you’re in a same-sex couple, New Zealand’s family violence laws protect you against violence and abuse by your partner just the same as with heterosexual couples. This includes physical, sexual and psychological violence and abuse.

For short-term protection the police may be able to make a Police Safety Order, and the Family Court can provide ongoing protection in the form of a Protection Order.

For more information, see the chapter “Family violence and elder abuse”.

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“Lag Law: Your Rights Inside Prison and on Remand” booklet

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Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley

Phone: (04) 499 2928

Email: publications@wclc.org.nz

Visit www.communitylaw.org.nz to buy a copy or access free

Rainbow Rights

www.rainbowrights.nz

Rainbow Rights is a website developed by Rainbow Youth and YouthLaw (a Community Law Centre) to provide legal information about rights for LQBTIQ young people.

Legislation NZ

www.legislation.govt.nz

This has all of New Zealand’s current Acts and regulations.

Law Society

To find a lawyer

www.lawsociety.org.nz

(04) 472 7837

Gender Minorities Aotearoa

www.genderminorities.com

Phone: (04) 385 0611

Mobile: 02040492568

GMA maintains a national database of transgender, takatāpui, and intersex information, resources, and links.

InsideOUT

www.insideout.org.nz

0273314507

InsideOUT is a national organisation that provides workshops, resources and support to help make schools, community organisations and workplaces inclusive for rainbow people.

Rainbow Youth

www.ry.org.nz

(09) 376 4155

RainbowYOUTH provides a number of services for queer and gender-diverse youth and their wider communities all across Aotearoa.

Genderbridge

www.facebook.com/groups/genderbridge/

Genderbridge is a peer-to-peer transgender community organisation providing support to transgender and gender-diverse people, their whānau and friends throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Naming NZ

www.naming.nz

Naming NZ is an organisation to help transgender, gender-diverse and intersex youth with updating their identity documents to correctly reflect their sex and gender. Naming NZ can only provide financial assistance to youth in the Wellington region.

Government departments, agencies and courts

Department of Internal Affairs

www.dia.govt.nz

0800 25 78 87

The Department of Internal Affairs processes applications to legally change your name.

Family Court

www.justice.govt.nz/courts/family-court

0800 268 787 or (04) 918 8800

The Family Court make decisions about applications to change your sex on your birth certificate.

Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children

International Surrogacy – Fact sheet

www.orangatamariki.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Adoptions/Surrogacy-and-adoption/2020-Information-Fact-Sheet-International-Surrogacy.pdf

Human Rights Commission

www.hrc.co.nz

You can contact the Human Rights Commission if you want to know more about discrimination and human rights, or if you want to complain about discrimination:

0800 496 877 or text 0210 236 4253

infoline@hrc.co.nz

“To Be Who I Am”, 2007 Report of the Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People is available on the HRC website

Human Rights Commission Intersex Roundtable

www.hrc.co.nz

NZ Transport Agency

www.nzta.govt.nz

0800 822 422

The NZTA deals with changes to drivers’ licences, including changing your name or gender on your driver’s licence.

Ministry of Health

Guidance for health professionals

www.health.govt.nz/our-work/preventative-health-wellness/delivering-health-services-transgender-people

Gender affirming surgery

www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/transgender-new-zealanders/health-care-transgender-new-zealanders

Health and Disability Advocacy Service

www.advocacy.org.nz

The Health and Disability Advocacy Service can provide a free advocate to help you make a complaint about a health or disability service.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Guide about Transgender Employees

www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/hiring/discrimination-when-hiring/transgender-employees/

Department of Corrections

Placement of transgender prisoners

You can read their policy (Movements M.03.05) relating to placement of transgender prisoners on their website, at:

www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/policy_and_legislation/Prison-Operations-Manual.html

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