Palaszczuk Government moves to help more women stay safe at home
Published Sunday, 25 October, 2015 at 11:29 AM
Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
Women experiencing domestic and family violence will be given greater opportunity to remain in their home under legislative changes being considered by the Palaszczuk Government.
The Government is currently considering amendments to the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 to make it mandatory for Magistrates to consider ‘ouster conditions’, where perpetrators are excluded from their home so that victims can remain.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said women and children had a right to stay in their own home.
“Women and children experiencing violence are often forced to flee, leaving work, homes, schools and their community to escape a violent partner,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It makes sense that if it is safe to do so and with the appropriate support, victims who wish to stay in their home can do so and the perpetrator leaves.
“This is a complex area and the safety of victims must always be paramount. Our changes would make it mandatory for Magistrates to consider an ouster condition, but allow them discretion to consider if it is appropriate.”
Minister for Women and Communities Shannon Fentiman said the ability to stay at home reduced the likelihood of homelessness or poverty for victims of domestic and family violence.
“Simply being able to continue their friendship and support networks, or their children’s schooling makes a huge difference to the well-being of victims of violence,” Minister Fentiman said.
“Ouster conditions are not applied for, or made, often enough, with only about 28 percent of cases in the last three years including them.
“We want to see that change, but it will have to be part of an integrated response, with support for the victim from police, counselling and legal support, along with risk assessment and appropriate security upgrades.”
An ouster condition can prohibit a perpetrator from remaining at, or entering a stated premises, or approaching within a stated distance.
The Government is investing $1.38 million this financial year for 11 services across Queensland to undertake improvements to home security of victims of domestic and family violence.
The Government will also consider changes to require that ‘cross-applications’ are dealt with at the same time, unless it is unsafe to do so, as well as a principle that victims have a right to have their views and wishes considered as part of the court process.
The changes to cross-orders will mean that a court can consider all of the information together where there are conflicting allegations of violence and protect the person most in need.
Ms Fentiman said that some perpetrators used cross-orders to frustrate or slow the court process and women were often re-traumatised by their court experience.
“It is critical we address this issue so victims achieve justice.”
All of the legislative amendments were recommendations of the Not Now, Not Ever report.
These initial amendments will be progressed urgently, while a comprehensive review of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 is undertaken in parallel.
For more information about the Government’s work to tackle domestic and family violence and violence against women: https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/gateway/end-domestic-and-family-violence