Nicole Lawton

A 21-year-old man is the first person to be arrested and charged with strangulation under new family violence legislation.

The Auckland man was charged in relation to a domestic violence incident on Monday, under legislation that came into effect on the same day, police said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Ellwood said the fact that the new legislation was used so soon after being introduced was significant.

“We know that strangulation is a serious risk marker in family harm situations.

“There is obviously significant risk to victims, and it is often a precursor for more serious violence, including homicide,” Ellwood said.

Police attend over 100,000 family harm events a year, and the new offence carries a maximum 7 year prison sentence.

Ellwood said the victim of Monday’s strangulation gave a video statement in court – another facet of the new legislation.

Victims of family violence offending will be entitled to have their victim video statements played in court, meaning police will no longer have to apply to court to have these interviews played on behalf of victims.

Victim video statements have now been used in general over 1300 times across the Auckland region.

“This new way of recording a victim’s statement has been a success,” Ellwood said.

“We have seen a vastly improved victim experience, a large reduction in the time taken to take a statement, and a significant improvement in the quality of the evidence police are gathering.”

He said the law changes will help police hold offenders to account.

“Family violence continues to remain a significant issue for far too many New Zealanders and we are committed to reducing the harm it causes.”

The 21-year-old appeared in the Manukau District Court on Tuesday, and has been remanded to reappear in late December.

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