Non-contact orders in the community
Along with standard conditions, the courts and the New Zealand Parole Board may also impose special conditions for sentences and orders.
These conditions are managed and monitored by probation officers and are designed to reduce the risk of re-offending by the offender, help the rehabilitation and/or reintegration of the offender. They also assist in increasing safety for the offender’s victim. Read more information on standard and special conditions.
In most cases victims do not want to have any contact with their offender and the non-contact special condition supports this right. However, in some instances either a victim or the offender can make a request to their probation officer to have contact. This could range from a onetime short contact for the purpose of attending a meeting, through to residing together full time.
These requests are considered on a case-by-case basis with victim safety sitting at the centre of all decision making.
Contact with victims registered on VNR
If a probation officer receives a request from a victim registered on the Victim Notification Register (VNR) to contact their offender, they will be referred to the Corrections Victim Information for advice - firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 603240.
If a probation officer receives a request from an offender to contact a registered victim:
- The probation officer will contact the victim notification register coordinator to discuss if it is appropriate to seek the views of the victim regarding the contact request.
- If the victim does not consent to contact, then the request is immediately declined.
- If the victim consents to contact, then the following actions and considerations are reviewed prior to consent being approved or declined by the probation officer.
In no instance would a probation officer approve contact with a registered person without gaining consent from the victim first via the victim notification register.
Our decision-making process
Once consent to have contact has been gained from both victim and offender then the following actions, assessments and analysis are made by the probation officer prior to contact being approved or declined:
- Discuss with the victim and offender why they want contact and what is the purpose e.g., support their whanau reintegration, attend cultural/religious events, attend joint counselling or meetings, assist in parenting requirements.
- Review how the offender is progressing on their sentence/order:
- Is the sentence/ order new or is it coming to an end
- Have they engaged with and completed special conditions that target their rehabilitative needs e.g. alcohol and drug counselling, departmental programmes, living without violence counselling
- Their compliance with conditions
- Review risk assessments
- Probation officers check with internal teams and partner agencies for concerns or risk such as Police or Oranga Tamariki (if children are involved)
- Contact whanau or support networks
- Develop a joint safety plan.
With the safety of victims at the forefront of all decision making, these actions and assessments inform whether a request for contact is approved or declined.
Approval for contact can be cancelled
Approval for contact is dependent on the victim’s ongoing safety and consent. If there are changes in circumstances that impact on the victim’s safety, or if the victim no longer consents to contact then approved contact can be cancelled.