This was in 2009 and anything has changed ? NO

Judge links suicides to family break-ups

By Simon Collins, Simon Collins

19 Nov, 2009 04:00 AM3 mins to read

A top judge has called for more mental health support for people involved in Family Court cases after finding 18 suspected suicides by people involved in the court in the 13 months to June.

Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier, in a speech to be delivered in Blenheim this morning, also proposes a new specialist agency to refer victims and offenders in domestic violence cases to counselling and to chase up offenders who drop out of programmes.

“A radical rethink is required in the delivery of both prevention and intervention in domestic violence,” he said.

He identified 22 people involved in Family Court cases who died between May 2008 and June this year as a result of either suicide or homicide.

“Of these 18 (82 per cent) were suspected suicides, and 41 per cent of the deceased had been, either directly or indirectly, involved in domestic violence proceedings,” he said.

Three-quarters were also involved in court battles over care of children.

He said New Zealand should learn from an Australian system where court staff are trained to identify possible mental health issues during separation and refer people to counselling services.

“I feel for people that use our courts who eventually cannot cope and take their own lives. I am not only sad for them personally, but for the children they leave behind,” he said.

“I accordingly advocate a court which has a much better support facility than is evident at present.”

Judge Boshier repeated criticisms he made in February of programmes for domestic violence offenders. He said then that one-off acts in situations such as a marriage breakup should not be treated the same as “continuous or systematic” violence.

Only half of all offenders completed programmes, and he called for a new specialist agency to refer and monitor offenders and victims on counselling programmes.

“I consider that part of the explanation for this low completion rate is the fact that courts are in the business of hearing cases and making judicial determinations, but are not in the business of providing long-term social oversight of offenders’ rehabilitation,” he said.

“An insightful approach would be to have the courts hear an application and make any relevant orders, but for consideration of the appropriate programme and follow-up to be the preserve of a wholly different agency.”

Domestic violence agencies agreed court workers should be trained to refer people with potential mental health issues to counsellors.

But National Network of Stopping Violence Services manager Brian Gardner, Women’s Refuge chief executive Heather Henare and Jane Drumm of the Auckland domestic violence agency Shine all questioned the judge’s call for a new agency.

“My concern is I don’t believe we need another layer,” Mr Gardner said.



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Family Court suxs

2009 is when it all started for me,and now in 2023 I’m still in family Court

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