Domestic Violence Protection Nation-Wide
Domestic violence laws have been changed in Australia to ensure better protection for victims across State and Territory boundaries. RMB Lawyers Partner MARTIN CULLETON explains:
In Australia, there has been a huge amount of publicity in relation to recent domestic violence and the consequences for both victims and perpetrators.
Domestic violence is defined by the Family Law Act 1975 as "violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family, or causes the family member to be fearful".
A survey of domestic violence data in Australia revealed that one in three women and one in five men have experienced at least one incident of violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15. These are highly disturbing statistics.
In the way that Australia has been formed, each Australian state normally has their own laws in relation to domestic violence and how to deal with it.
Prior to November 2017, if someone who was subject to a Domestic Violence Order moved interstate then that Order arguably would not have been enforceable against them outside the State which gave that Order.
This has now been rectified by what is known as a National Domestic Violence Order Scheme (DVOS). From 25 November 2017, any Domestic Violence Order, made in whatever State in Australia, is automatically recognised and enforceable nation-wide.
The purpose of the DVOS is to better protect victims and their families, who may feel compelled to move interstate to get away from a perpetrator of violence against them.
However existing State and Territory laws protecting victims and affected family members from domestic violence have not changed, which means that local police can enforce the conditions of any such Order, regardless of where the Domestic Violence Order was issued.
Prior to 25 November 2017 the position was not so clear. After this date, such an Order is automatically recognised without the need of any further action. The relevance of that date is that it coincides with the international day for the elimination of violence against women.
Domestic violence also of course protects male victims who have the benefit of such Orders.
We will have to wait to see the impact of this change, but it is anticipated it will enable the police to better enforce a Domestic Violence Order.
The Scheme will increase accountability, regardless of where the offence takes place, and where the Order was made.
If you, your family or friends wish to enquire about a similar circumstance, you can contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, ask us a question via email or even chatting with you online.