Major Step Forward in DV Protection Laws
A tough LNP Private Member’s Bill which drew Labor support was passed late on Wednesday night. It allows for GPS trackers to be fitted to DV offenders and radically reverses the presumption of bail for violence-related DV offences.Cassandra says family lawyers have been strongly advocating tougher safety measures for domestic violence victims and a more hardline stance against offenders for some time.
Key points of the DV reforms are:
- Reverses the presumption for bail for persons charged with domestic violence-related crimes such as assault, grievous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty, strangulation and kidnapping.
- A DV Alert system will advise victims and families when someone with a DVO against them is being considered for parole, even if the reason they are in prison is not related to domestic violence.
- Introduces urgent appeal rights to the bail application process, which means bail decisions can be stayed for up to three business days and referred to a higher court for urgent review.
- Allows Courts to require GPS trackers be fitted to an alleged offender as a bail condition to ensure that victims of crime are better protected throughout the full trial process.
Cassandra says the new legislation has been needed for some time and stakeholders in the ongoing Domestic Violence crisis will be closely examining the new laws to see where further strengthening is needed.
One immediate area of concern is a key provision in the Bill which did not get Labor support. This involved a DV bail alert system which would have seen victims alerted when a previous offender applies for or has been granted bail.
Cassandra expects there will be pressure for this commonsense measure to ensure DV victims have an early alert when an offender is released to be put before Parliament again.
Just this week, State Coroner Terry Ryan recommended the Government toughen bail conditions ensuring the most violent domestic violence perpetrators remain in jail.
Cassandra says the legislative changes are a significant victory for DV victims and those pushing for change.
“Finally the rights of the victims are being upheld. This is a great step forward in a crisis that has been too often studded with heartbreaks,” she says.