Laws improve rights, treatment for domestic violence victims

Published Thursday, 23 March, 2017 at 02:46 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Victims of domestic and family violence will be informed if their perpetrator is released on bail or from prison, under new Palaszczuk Government laws passed unanimously through State Parliament tonight.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to tackling domestic and family violence as a priority issue and the laws passed tonight set a new Charter of Victims Rights.

“Our Government is committed to improving the safety of Queenslanders and this is why we took a bipartisan approach to this issue,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“The Government is implementing the recommendations of the Not Now; Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland report. The Government allocated $198.2 million over five years for implementation of these recommendations and DV initiatives.”

“The passing of our Government’s Victims of Crime Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment Bill tonight ensures domestic and family violence victims will be better informed if alleged perpetrators are released on bail or from prison."

Under these laws, a new Charter of Victims’ Rights has also been created to enhance the rights and treatment of victims.

“The laws also ensure private communication between sexual assault victims and their counsellor cannot be easily accessed by an offender in court proceedings,” Mrs D’Ath said.

The Palaszczuk Government’s new laws also increases support to victims of sexual assault and ensures a victim will automatically be recognised as a special witness in court proceedings, meaning they will not need to face their perpetrators when giving evidence in court.

“These laws will remove obstacles that currently inhibit a victim’s therapeutic relationships and recovery process and interfere with their right to give unintimidated evidence,” Mrs D’Ath said.

In reference to the Private Members’ Bill, the Palaszczuk Government supported the fundamental goal to improve community safety for victims of domestic violence and hold perpetrators to account.

Mrs D’Ath said necessary amendments were required to turn the principles into workable and effective laws.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to tackling domestic violence.

"We have listened to the concerns of organisations that work to support victims of violence each and every day to pass strong, workable laws that will protect vulnerable Queenslanders," she said.

"Tonight we only strengthen our commitment to tackle domestic and family violence from all angles and we send a clear message to perpetrators that we won't tolerate it in any form."


Media Contact: Pam Frost – 0437 696 809