Sex abuse groups are welcoming proposed changes in New Zealand law which for the first time will place the burden of proof on the shoulders of accused sex offenders who must now prove how they went about obtaining consent from the victim. There will be changes in the rape shield law which limited the accused’s ability to cross-examine a complainant concerning past sexual relations between the two individuals. A 2001 study found 19% of New Zealand women and 5% of men had experienced sexual violence at some stage and figures were much higher for Maroi women. The survey found most who went through a trial process believed they were more subject to scrutiny than the sexual offender.
New Zealand is also investigating whether sexual offenders are better handled by means of investigative process rather than an adversarial system. Under the investigative process a judge would handle gathering evidence, questioning witnesses and lawyers would have a different role.