Major step forward to protect domestic violence survivors

SA Gov

Landmark laws aimed at better protecting domestic and family violence survivors have passed State Parliament this week.

The laws will ensure defendants granted bail on a charge of breaching a DV-related intervention order by either threatening or committing a violent act will be subject to mandatory strict conditions of home detention and electronic monitoring.

The move mirrors similar provisions in place for defendants accused of offences involving serious or organised crime.

Defendants will be unable to leave the home unless for specific permitted reasons – such as travelling to work or to a medical appointment – with the monitoring device capable of providing real-time alerts if any home detention conditions are breached.

The passing of this legislation fulfils a key election commitment of the Malinauskas Government. The Government has also passed legislation to provide access to 15 days paid leave for domestic and family violence in the public service as well as legislation to make the experience of domestic violence a ground of discrimination in the Equal Opportunity Act.

The Royal Commission into Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence, led by Commissioner Natasha Stott Despoja AO, will formally commence on 1 July and will examine five key themes, aligned with the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032:

  • PREVENTION: How South Australia can facilitate widespread change in the underlying social drivers of domestic, family and sexual violence;
  • EARLY INTERVENTION: How South Australia can improve effective early intervention through identification and support of individuals who are at high risk of experiencing or perpetrating domestic, family and sexual violence;
  • RESPONSE: How South Australia can ensure best practice response to family, domestic and sexual violence through the provision of services and supports;
  • RECOVERY AND HEALING: How SA can embed an approach that supports recovery and healing through reducing the risk of re-traumatisation and supporting victim-survivors to be safe and healthy;
  • COORDINATION: How government agencies, non-government organisations and communities can better integrate and coordinate efforts across the spectrum of prevention, early intervention, response and recovery.

This legislation and the Royal Commission are in addition to other measures the Government is undertaking or has undertaken already including:

  • Progressing a commitment to introduce legislation to criminalise coercive control with extensive consultation with community and the sector already undertaken;
  • Committing $1 million to the recently established southern and northern DV prevention and recovery hubs;
  • Providing $800,000 to restore funding to the Women’s and Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service;
  • Reinstating funding to Catherine House cut by the former government;
  • Establishing the Housing Security for Older Women Taskforce knowing that domestic violence is a key factor in housing insecurity;
  • Passing laws to include the experience of domestic violence as a ground of discrimination in the Equal Opportunity Act;
  • Passing laws to enshrine 15 days paid domestic violence in the state Fair Work Act.
  • Ring-fencing a proportion of public housing for women escaping violence; and
  • Engaging with the finance and real estate industries to ensure women do not bear the brunt of mortgages, loans and rent that go unpaid in a domestic violence situation; and
  • Reforming renting laws including additional support for victims of domestic violence
  • Funding a public awareness campaign targeting the prevention of violence against women and children alongside an education program being run in sporting clubs across the State.

As put by Peter Malinauskas

It takes a tremendous amount of bravery and strength for someone to come forward and report cases of domestic and family violence to authorities.

These laws will help give those victim-survivors an additional layer of confidence that defendants in these cases will be subject to restricted movement and closely monitored in the event that they are granted bail.

This is a national crisis. I was pleased to share ideas and discuss further opportunities for reform with the Prime Minister and other First Ministers at National Cabinet this morning.

I am proud to lead a Government that is committed to making a difference to stopping this scourge.

As put by Kyam Maher

This is a significant step forward in addressing domestic and family violence.

These laws give authorities a significant tool to ensure defendants are complying with the stringent conditions of their monitored home detention bail and respond swiftly in cases where they are in breach.

As put by Katrine Hildyard

The prevalence of domestic, family and sexual violence in our community is utterly unacceptable. Our community is filled with anger, frustration and sorrow that this year, a woman has been killed by a man every four days. It is a terrible fact that strengthens our steadfast resolve to continue to take action to tackle this scourge.

Progressing this Bill is a really clear step forward and speaks to that resolve.

These laws will help give survivors confidence that defendants in these cases will be closely monitored and have their movements restricted should they be granted bail.

This law, alongside our other actions, will make a difference to women. It will ensure they feel and are safer, as they always should be, and as women across the country are rightly demanding that they are.

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