Family violence reforms
Family violence reforms
The Government is seeking your feedback on the draft Family Violence Reforms Bill 2016 and the Consultation Paper Family Violence: Strengthening Our Legal Responses.
Draft Family Violence Reforms Bill 2016
The draft Family Violence Reforms Bill 2016 proposes changes to the Corrections Act 1997, Evidence (Children and Special Witnesses) Act 2001, Family Violence Act 2004 and Police Offences Act 1935.
The proposed amendments provide the following:
- Corrections Act 1997: to amend section 87A to provide for a victim of a family violence offence to apply to be listed as an eligible person in the eligible persons register. This proposal enables family violence victims, if they choose, to be given information about a prisoner's location and progress in the prison system.
- Evidence (Children and Special Witnesses) Act 2001: to amend section 8 to provide that a victim of a family violence offence, who is giving or to give evidence in proceedings is to be automatically declared a ‘special witness’. This proposal provides for a video or audio recorded statement of a family violence victim that has been made after the commission of a family violence offence to be admitted into evidence as a prior statement.
- Family Violence Act 2004: inserts a new provision to provide for a court to order, at the time of sentencing a person for an offence that occurred in circumstances of family violence, that it is entered on the person’s criminal record that the conviction was for a family violence offence. This proposal will provide courts and prosecutors with a history of prior offending which identifies an offender’s pattern of family violence offending.
- Police Offences Act 1935: to amend section 35 to provide a separate express sentence aggravating provision where the person assaulted is a pregnant woman. This initiative is based on an observation from the Sentencing Advisory Council’s Sentencing of Adult Family Violence Offenders report. The inclusion of a sentencing aggravating provision for the offence of common assault where the person assaulted is a pregnant woman recognises the aggravating circumstances of pregnancy.
The Consultation Paper Family Violence: Strengthening Our Legal Responses invites your feedback on seven issues identified for discussion as options to strengthen legislative frameworks to hold perpetrators of family violence to account and to improve the safety of victims of family violence.
The issues for consideration include:
- breaches of protection orders by protected persons
- mandatory reporting of family violence
- definition of ‘family relationship’
- law of self-defence in the context of family violence
- effects of tendering no evidence in family violence cases
- persistent contraventions of family violence order - perpetrator declarations
- consequences of a persistent perpetrator of family violence declaration.
Please send your comments to the Department of Justice on the:
- draft Family Violence Reforms Bill 2016 by Monday 31 October 2016
- Consultation Paper by Monday 6 February 2017
All submission will be treated in strict confidence.
Department of Justice
Office of Strategic Legislation and Policy
GPO Box 825
Hobart TAS 7001