Newbold, Greg; Cross, Jenny
May 2008
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;May2008, Issue 33, p1
Academic Journal
Prior to the 1980s police in New Zealand, as in other Western jurisdictions, tended to adopt a minimalist stance to the treatment of domestic violence, with separation and mediation favoured over arrest. By the late 1960s, however, the "second wave" of the feminist movement had begun to have an impact on social attitudes, and from the early 1980s presumptive arrest strategies gained international popularity. Although research into the effectiveness of presumptive arrest has been inconclusive, New Zealand moved increasingly toward such a policy from 1987 onward. This paper discusses the progress and effects of various police initiatives in New Zealand's fight against domestic violence over the past 20 years, and argues that although a policy of presumptive arrest sounds attractive, there are good legal and practical reasons why the police have continued to exercise discretion in the way the policy is interpreted.


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