New laws in QLD, which will come into force on 1 December 2015, aim to increase the accountability of the perpetrators of domestic violence and give greater protection for victims of domestic or family violence.
What are the new laws?
The new laws change already existing criminal and family laws. The main changes in the criminal law area are:
- increasing penalties for breaches of Domestic Violence Orders (DVO);
- providing that the specific charge of domestic or family violence be noted on that persons's criminal history; and
- 'special witness' protection for victims giving evidence Court.
The new laws will also establish an independent body to investigate domestic and family related deaths in the Coroners Court.
What does it mean for victims?
In essence, the new laws mean greater protection for victims of family violence and harsher penalties for perpetrators.
Victims are offered greater protection by being afforded the status of 'special witness' in family violence matters. This is a move to help victims to give evidence in Court, without fear of being harmed by the perpetrator after the fact. Only time will tell in whether the legislation is effective in making perpetrators of domestic violence accountable and for victims to feel safer.
If you are in immediate fear for your safety, you should contact 000. If you are in QLD and you would like support for domestic violence, please call the Domestic Violence Helpline on 1800 811 811.
This article contains information of a general nature only and is not specific to your circumstances. This is not legal advice and should not be relied upon without independent legal or financial advice, specific to your circumstances.