The government will introduce amendments to interim domestic violence orders and change the definition of family violence to ensure victims receive greater support, Attorney-General Simon Corbell announced last night.
Speaking at the launch of Law Week 2015, Mr Corbell said the changes were part of the government’s major legislative reform program to respond to the outcomes of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and the Law Reform Commissions’ Family Violence Report.
“The new class of interim domestic violence order will apply when a respondent has current criminal charges, and the applicant for the DVO is the victim of those charges,” Mr Corbell said
“Victims will be able to have an interim domestic violence order extended when the subject of the original order is facing criminal charges related to the original order.
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“Victims will not be required to go to a hearing for the final Domestic Violence Order until criminal charges have been finalised.
The reform will be progressed in a Bill to be introduced later this year.
The amendment to the definition of domestic and family violence will be to include children witnessing violence.
“International research definitively shows that infants, children and adolescents experience serious negative psychological and developmental impacts on their well-being from the traumatic ongoing experiences of domestic and sexual violence,” Mr Corbell said.
“It is important to understand what constitutes domestic and family violence, and that while it often may not be directed against a person, it may still be lived and experienced by them.”
Mr Corbell said he would progress this amendment, alongside a number of others, in early 2016.
The theme of Law Week 2015 is “Magna Carta: Commemorating 800 years of democracy” and provides an opportunity to reflect on human rights and governance in Canberra.
“Domestic and family violence, including sexual assault, is a crime, it is a breach of basic human rights.” Mr Corbell said.
“The Government’s reforms will ensure that victims have proper and fair access to the ACT justice system.”
(Simon Corbell media release)