- Family Violence Legislation Reform Bill 2019 to be introduced into Parliament
- Reforms address a number of election commitments around family violence
The McGowan Labor Government will today announce the most comprehensive family violence law reform package ever seen in Western Australia.
The proposed reforms, to be introduced into Parliament today, amend nine separate pieces of legislation across six separate Ministerial portfolios and demonstrate a cross-government commitment to tackling family and domestic violence.
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 is 1.6 million women across Australia.
The McGowan Labor Government is committed to stopping this violence by ensuring that laws protect the most vulnerable people in our community.
The reform package includes:
- two new offences under the Criminal Code, namely non-fatal strangulation and persistent family violence;
- new aggravated penalties for offences which commonly occur in circumstances of family violence;
- introduction of serial family violence offender declarations;
- expanded access to electronic monitoring for offenders;
- introduction of jury directions to counter stereotypes, myths and misconceptions about family and domestic violence;
- making it easier for evidence of family and domestic violence to be introduced in criminal trials;
- requirement for police to record every family violence incident; and
- 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.
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"Family and domestic violence is often referred to as a scourge in the community, but it is in fact an epidemic.
"Domestic and family violence victims make up 61 per cent of assault victims in WA and at least 30 per cent of all matters in the Magistrates Courts involve family violence. Nationwide, a woman dies as a direct result of family violence every nine days.
"Our family relationships and homes should be our safe places, free from psychological and physical violence and abuse.
"The McGowan Government is committed to stopping the violence, to changing the story for victims.
"We went to the last election with a series of Family Violence promises and this Bill delivers on those promises.
"This comprehensive Bill will ensure WA is at the forefront of the fight against family violence in Australia."
Comments attributed to Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk:
"Family and domestic violence is an awful reality for too many women and their children in WA.
"Of the homicide offences committed in WA last year, family and domestic violence was a factor in 37 of them. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it was the largest number of such offences recorded in a State or Territory.
"That is why, as the State's first Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, I am working closely with my Ministerial colleagues to find ways to stop these insidious crimes.
"It is an uncomfortable truth that women are much more likely than men to experience violence in their own home and at the hands of someone they know.
"These proposed changes respond to our increased understanding of what family and domestic violence is and how it impacts women and children. It is critical that our laws do this for a safer community.
"A good example of this is the new separate offence for non-fatal strangulation, which is informed by research showing it is a precursor to escalating violence and death.
"These changes are ultimately about saving lives."
Attorney General's Office - 6552 6800
Minister McGurk's Office - 6552 6600