Corbell introduces domestic violence measures

supreme court

SIMON Corbell has introduced reforms to reduce the harm domestic and family violence can have on the community.

“The Crimes (Domestic and Family Violence) Amendment Bill 2015 aims to protect the lives and safety of Canberrans, especially women and children, where there is a risk posed to them,” Simon said.

“The amendments aim to address the systemic and widespread abuse experienced by victims in domestic and family violence situations.

“While domestic violence cannot be eliminated through law alone, legal measures are an essential component of any response.

“I am introducing this Bill to ensure that the ACT legislative scheme relating to domestic and family violence is streamlined and effective. Consistent with the government’s recognition that addressing domestic and family violence takes a multi-faceted strategy, the government is also progressing a number of non-legislative responses to address this type of violence.”

The reforms aim to recognise the nature of domestic and family violence and establish additional protections for victims to ensure that bringing the perpetrator to account is less traumatic for the victim.

The Bill will:

  • Amend an ‘act endangering health’ to reflect that strangulation often has harmful effects on a person’s health but may not leave marks or render the victim unconscious;
  • Allow police records of interview to be admitted as evidence in chief for family violence and all sexual offences;
  • Expand protections for victims of domestic and family violence in criminal proceedings to allow special protections to apply to breaches of domestic violence orders and damage property offences; and
  • create a special interim domestic violence order scheme to extend interim orders until the finalisation of related criminal charges.

“Domestic and family violence causes enduring damage to individuals and society as a whole. This is part of the reason that the government’s position will always be that domestic and family violence will not be tolerated in the territory,” Simon said.

“The Bill makes a number of important amendments to better protect victims of domestic and family violence, and to recognise the harm that this type of violence can have on a community.

“The government’s reforms align with the Second Implementation Plan for the ACT’s Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children Strategy 2011-2017.

“Legitimate and transparent law enforcement practices are necessary to deter and tackle crime, especially where that crime is a pattern of behaviour occurring within the home.

“The reforms contained in this Bill are one part of a staged reform to help strengthen the ACT’s responses to domestic and family violence.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, including sexual assault you there are a number of programs that can support you:

  • The Domestic Violence Crisis Service, which aims to promote the safety of people subjected to domestic violence, provide crisis intervention and address the problem of violence and abuse in relationships – (02) 6280 0900 – dvcs.org.au.
  • Legal Aid (ACT Domestic Violence and Protection Order Unit), which provides advice on the process for applying for an order, assistance with submitting an application and representation in court – (02) 6243 3411 – legalaidact.org.au.
  • Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, which provides a crisis counselling line, Indigenous community support, counselling to victims and their families, and community education programs – (02) 6247 2525 – crcc.org.au.
  • Beryl Women Inc, which provides supported crisis accommodation to women with dependent children who are escaping domestic and family violence – (02) 6230 6900 beryl.org.au.
  • Canberra Men’s Centre, which provides counselling, crisis support, outreach services, information and referral to men with complex needs, including family violence – (02) 6230 6999 – menscentre.org.au.
  • Victim Support ACT, which provides counselling, court support and advocacy services to victims of crime, including family violence – 1800 822 72 –victimsupport.act.gov.au.

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