Minors (Court Consent to Relationships) Legislation Bill – Third Reading – Video 8
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Minors (Court Consent to Relationships) Legislation Bill – Third Reading – Video 8


it’s for every one I call Priyanka Retta Krishnan speaker it is such a privilege to stand and take a call at the third reading of the miners Court can seem to relationships legislation bill this is there are some bills when we come to this house there are some bills that are tweaks there are some bills that bring legislation that is outdated into the 21st century and then there are some bills that will actually change lives and that’s that’s it’s in to that category that this bills squarely Falls I want to begin by dedicating my third reading speech to the young women who have come forward and sought help sought support young women who have either been threatened to be forced into marriage or those who have actually experienced this horrific act of domestic violence I dedicate this speech to them but also to women who have supported them supported them walked alongside them and been their advocates for many many years because many of them have felt helpless in that journey that they have gone through in supporting some of the young women who’ve come out for help because forced marriage is a hidden issue in New Zealand because there is a lack of understanding amongst agencies with the government agencies or non-governmental in terms of what force marriage actually is that then hinders their ability to assist to do to carry out a proper risk assessment of these young people and I know that they feel helpless because I have been in that position force marriage is a is a hidden issue for two reasons one because often it’s not talked about that could be because domestic violence more broadly still has a stigma across communities across our society here in New Zealand it could be because sometimes parents who force their children into marriage and I say sometimes they do it for nefarious purpose sometimes it’s for monetary gain and there’s shame involved there and it’s kept under wraps sometimes it’s because people from our own communities don’t actually realize that it’s happening they don’t realize sometimes that the marriage ceremony they’re witnessing is not consensual between the two parties it’s a hidden issue also because there’s an imbalance of power here especially when we’re talking about young women who are forced into this forced into marriage it’s because their families are the ones who are perpetrating this violence families their parents the very people who were supposed to keep them safe and their shame and that as well but I want people who are in that situation today to know that there’s no shame in seeking help that it’s okay to seek help this family forced marriage is is a form of domestic violence as the members gen Logie mentioned in her speech as well it’s not a cultural or a religious issue per se because it’s not condoned by any world religion because there are movements within all of our culture’s our ethnic communities that fight against this it is a human rights violation and I just wanna I just want to read a quote at this point the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2005 this is a this is a quote forced marriages and child marriages constitute serious and recurrent violations of human rights and the rights of the child it is an outrage that under the cloak of respect for the culture and traditions or perceived I dared cultures and traditions of certain communities there are authorities that tolerate forced marriages and child marriages although they violate the fundamental rights of each and every victim and that essentially is what we’re talking about this bill takes one step in the direction to address this and I’ll get to that in a minute this forced marriages are different from arranged marriages because of the lack of consent and in fact the addition of coercion in many cases young women I’ve worked with have been coerced into marriage sometimes sometimes there’s horrific psychological and emotional abuse that is a lot harder to detect really there is physical abuse as well sometimes it’s done by parents who think they’re actually doing what’s best for those children because we have young people who have grown up in two different worlds virtually sometimes in a family that has very rigid gender norms and stereotypes where a woman’s place or a young girl’s place is defined in a certain way girls who then go out and work or go to school and come in a different environment where the norms are different and they face an issue which one’s right which once accepted in some families that’s a conversation that’s had and it’s worked on together but in some families where those the rigidity is such that they won’t be broken these young women are forced into marriage as a way to control their behavior in sexuality a way to preserve a sense of honor that reflects on the family as well and it’s not right what does this bill do I’ll go over it briefly because members before me have gone into the details basically closes a loophole under the current Marriage Act that allows sixteen or seventeen year olds who want to get married to get parental consent to get married it removes this bill if when it’s passed we’ll remove that requirement for parental consent and replace it with Family Court consent through a judge essentially it’s a very simple change it’s a simple change that has had an incredibly long history and will have a transformational future for those people whose lives it will impact the Family Court judge must be satisfied that there is consent that both parties if they’re both 16 or 17 consent to this marriage or civil union or de facto relationship the age and maturity of the individuals are part of the consideration that the judge gives as well the parents and guardians views as Jen Loki mentioned as well and are considered it’s not a huge component of the consideration as I understand it but they are considered and that’s an acknowledgement that not all parents forced their 16 17 year-olds into marriage and therefore those views are also taken into consideration there is an avenue through this bill for other information to be requested for example a cultural report that can be provided to share a bit more light into the context within which this occurs the judge then decides whether the application is accepted or declined if a declined application results in a marriage then there are penalties for that as well and the Registrar is not allowed to provide a license to authorize such a marriage between a 16 or 17 year old unless there is court consent so that’s essentially what this bill is dan why is it important I understand madam Speaker that this is the first bill to go through this house that is directly related to an aspect to force marriage that is hugely important that is momentous because it starts a conversation a conversation that as we’ve acknowledged before in this house has actually begun many many years ago over ten years ago but it starts the conversation in this house around the issue of forced marriage this bill has quite a narrow focus it doesn’t address the issue of forced marriage more broadly it addresses it quite narrowly but it’s a step and it’s an important step that will protect some of our 16 17 year-olds who are likely to face this but we need to do more this is a good step in the right direction but there is a broader conversation to be had about the broader issue of forced marriage because there are others who are not 16 or 17 year old who are forced into marriage as well there are other issues that disproportionately affect these communities my community’s issues like dairy abuse that need to be addressed in this house as well this bill when it wins when it once it’s passed is likely to results in young people perhaps whose applications have been declined by the Family Court facing even more pressure from their families and therefore more pressure on some of the support services that support them and so I’m proud that this government has actually boosted frontline service funding through the budget this year to ensure 76 million extra that will ensure a funding boost for a hundred and fifty Family Violence providers very quickly it is a privilege to speak to this bill because I’ve been part of this from the time that I worked in Shafi before I came to this house lobbying government successive governments for change presented at the silic Liberty than I been that I then sat on till recently the justice selectivity and thank you all members opposite for listening to the arguments that were made and for making change because that’s what we’re here to do thank you to the members Joann Hayes dr. Jackie blue who was in the gallery till recently everyone who’s been a part of this journey and one person I want to name specifically shakthi of course Commonwealth women parliamentarians a police inspector Bridget Nemo who headed the Family Violence Unit and worked with me on the issue of family violence she’s no longer with us she’s not alive but I pay tribute in her memory thank you it’s a man Arakawa I understand this as a split quarters you have five minutes hurry to he panel thank you madam Speaker and taking this brief call

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