Family Violence Legislation Reform

Family Violence Legislation Reform

The Family Violence Legislation Reform Act 2019

The WA State Government has announced a family violence law reform package intended to be the most comprehensive ever seen in WA. The Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing reports that one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner, which equates to approximately 1.6 million women across Australia. The proposed reforms, once passed by the State Parliament, will amend nine separate pieces of legislation and the key reforms include:

  1. a requirement for police to record every family violence incident reported to them;
  2. two new offences under the Criminal Code, namely non-fatal strangulation and persistent family violence;
  3. a range of amendments to the Restraining Orders Act 1997 and Bail Act 1982 to enhance victim safety and make it easier for victims to obtain protection from violence;
  4. increased penalties for offences which commonly occur in circumstances of family violence;
  5. the ability for a Court to make a declaration that a person is a serial family violence offender;
  6. expanded access to electronic monitoring of family violence offenders;
  7. the introduction of directions to juries to counter stereotypes, myths and misconceptions about family and domestic violence; and
  8. making it easier for evidence of family and domestic violence to be introduced in criminal trials.

Austral Legal welcomes the upcoming changes and reforms in this area of the law and encourages all victims of family violence to seek help and protection. If you or someone you know requires legal assistance in this area of law then we may be able to assist or to help with an appropriate referral. There is a lot of help and support available so don’t delay. Family violence is never OK and no one should have to suffer through it.