Thursday, 14 August 2008

ACT: Domestic violence laws toughened

Domestic violence laws toughened
Released 07/08/2008

New laws that further strengthen domestic violence and protection orders will be introduced into the Legislative Assembly today by Attorney General Simon Corbell.

The Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Bill 2008 extends domestic violence laws to boyfriend/girlfriend and same-sex relationships, even where couples do not live together, and ensures compatibility with the Human Rights Act.

"These new provisions and amendments are the result of extensive consultation and are intended to improve the safety and protection of people who fear or experience violence," Mr Corbell said.

"These reforms afford increased protection to those in our society, many of whom are women and children, from being subjected to fear and intimidation, and will also apply to intimate heterosexual and homosexual relationships, including where the parties do not reside together.

"They increase the protection of children named on orders and exclude children under the age of 10 as being named as respondents on an order, and include the offence of trespass in the list of domestic violence offences."

Domestic violence orders are a legally enforceable mechanism to help prevent of violence between spouses or family members to improve the safety and protection of people who fear or experience violence.

The ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service recorded 8,738 calls from clients between 1 July 2007 and 1 July 2008. In the same period, ACT Police received 2,108 complaints and the Magistrates Court recorded more than 1,800 protection order applications.

"Domestic and personal violence continues to be a significant concern for our community," Mr Corbell said.

"Those who are subjected to violence require and deserve the assistance and support of the criminal justice system to aid their protection."

Ministerial Media Release

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