EDITORIAL: New Victorian laws aim to make home a safer place

NEW state laws that aim to better protect victims of domestic violence are welcome, but there is still much to be done.

Under the laws introduced to the Victorian Parliament last week, victims will be allowed to authorise the public naming and shaming of offenders once they are charged.

Previously, those who breached family violence intervention orders could not be named unless the court gave permission.

The change is a long overdue step in the right direction but it is just one reform of many that must happen with regard to family violence, an issue that is now firmly in the spotlight three months out from the state election.

On Monday on the steps of the Victorian Parliament seven family violence and legal groups launched a campaign called No More Deaths, the aim being to put the issue at the forefront of election debate. Red roses were laid to represent the 29 women killed by their partners or ex-partners last year, and white roses to honour the eight children killed in the state.

For those that have been advocating on behalf of family violence victims for years, it seems at last that the community is starting to take notice.

Politicians are beginning to realise that it is no longer acceptable to present as being tough on law and order while doing nothing about family violence, arguably our most serious law and order issue.

With this in mind, the No More Deaths campaign is striking while the iron is hot and demanding 25 reforms.

These would include measures such as making family violence a major ministerial portfolio and placing family violence specialists in courts.

More money for agencies working in the area and creating improved links between child protection, courts, the police and mental health agencies in order to tackle the problem in a united and cohesive way are also on the agenda.

While this is good news for victims, they might also be asking themselves why it has taken so long.

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