Attorney General Michael Mischin, said,” the changes formed a key part of the Government’s response to the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia’s (LRC) report on ‘Enhancing Laws Concerning Family and Domestic Violence.”
Announcing the first part of the package on International Women’s Day today, Mr Mischin ,said, “the Government would introduce specific Family Violence Restraining Orders (FVROs).”
He further added “ currently under the Restraining Orders Act 1997, a person can apply for a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) for family violence or other non-family personal violence situations or a Misconduct Restraining Order to restrain the misconduct of a non-family member,” he said.”
The new FVROs will be a distinct third category of orders and will adopt a more modern definition of family violence, moving away from the concept of a victim having to provide evidence of an act of abuse towards behaviour intended to intimidate, coerce or control.
The grounds for an order will be redefined by removing the broad discretion of magistrates in deciding whether to grant one, so that if conditions for making the order are met, then an order should be made, unless there are special circumstances.
Courts will be required to adopt a risk-management approach to granting FVROs, considering information from WA Police, the Department for Child Protection and Family Support and other agencies about risks to the victim, and can order conditions specifically tailored for family violence, such as mandatory counselling.”
Police Minister Liza Harvey, said, “reform was needed because the number of reported incidents of family violence in WA had risen dramatically in recent years.”
Further adding to this Mrs Harvey said, said, “There were 44,947 incidents of family violence reported to police in 2012, which is two and a half times the level in 2004,”
Family violence is unfortunately core business for police and the courts, with applications for restraining orders being made in 31 per cent of cases recorded by police in 2012.
In addition to criminal matters such as breaches of VROs, bail applications and trials for serious offences.
Victims have said they want more support under the law. Today’s announcement will go a long way towards achieving this and will better protect women and their children.
The Attorney General said , “further reforms would be announced later in the year.”