Improved domestic violence laws welcomed

The move to lift the ban on reporting family violence intervention orders puts the decision about making the orders public in the hands of the victims, rather than the courts.

The move to lift the ban on reporting family violence intervention orders puts the decision about making the orders public in the hands of the victims, rather than the courts.

WARRNAMBOOL’S domestic violence victim support service has welcomed new state laws that aim to better protect victims.

Emma House Domestic Violence Services manager Pat McLaren said new laws introduced into State Parliament last week would give victims more immediate police protection and reduce the time they had to spend in court to get final protection orders.

Ms McLaren also welcomed the move to allow adult victims of domestic violence to publish or authorise the media to publish the existence of a family violence safety notice or intervention order, together with the identities of any offender and adult victims. 

She said the move to lift the ban on reporting family violence intervention orders put the decision about making the orders public in the hands of the victims, rather than the courts, and should deter family violence.

The new laws will empower police to issue family violence safety notices (FVSNs) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, instead of only outside of 9am to 5pm weekdays. State attorney-general Robert Clark said the proposed reforms would also allow FVSNs to operate for up to five working days instead of the present period of 120 hours.

He said the longer period would not only give victims more protection but also more time to take advice and make decisions before attending court. 

Mr Clark said the reforms would also allow interim intervention orders to become final orders after 28 days without need for a further hearing, if both the court and victim consider it appropriate and the respondent doesn’t wish to contest the order. 

The move would avoid unnecessary stress and delay for victims and allow courts to spend more time on cases where a full hearing was required, he said. 

“At present, respondents don’t attend court in over a third of cases and a final order is made in the respondent’s absence. This reform will mean that where both the court and the victim consider it appropriate, a further hearing will only be required if the respondent wants to contest the order being made,” Mr Clark said.

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