The Queensland Government recently introduced legislation to parliament which will represent the first major overhaul of Queensland’s domestic and family violence legislation in over 20 years.
The Domestic Violence and Family Violence Protection Bill 2011 included proposed changes to improve the safety and protection of people affected by domestic and family violence and to reduce the exposure of children to this violence.
The draft Bill which is available for public comment, proposes to introduce police issued protection notices to provide protection of victims by holding the perpetrators immediately accountable for their actions.
The Bill also seeks to increase penalties for breaking domestic violence orders.
As part of the overhaul of domestic and family violence legislation reforms, the Government has also just announced extra funding for the DVconnect million over three years to continue their vital work providing counselling, information and referral services.
For women and their children seeking refuge from domestic violence situations, DVconnect womens line is a statewide 24 hour, 7 day a week service. The team is staffed by dedicated professional counsellors who in the last year alone received over 51,000 calls for assistance.
On a national level, as part of a commitment under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-22, the former Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland recently announced an agreement with all State and Territory Police Ministers to support a new nationally coordinated scheme for domestic and family violence orders (DVOs).
The draft legislation proposes that all States and Territories automatically recognise each other’s DVOs. This will allow persons currently protected by a DVO to be able to move across State and Territory borders and remain covered, rather than the current requirement to register their DVO in a new jurisdiction to maintain protection, which involves more court time and considerable stress to the person seeking the new order.
The legislation is expected to be finalised by the Standing Council of Law and Justice (SCLJ) by early 2012 with the aim of implementing the national DVO scheme by early 2013.
More information about the draft Bill can be found by visiting: www.communityservices.qld.gov.au/violenceprevention
DVconnect womensline: 1800 811 811 – 24 hours, 7 days
DVconnect mensline: 1800 600 636 – 9am to 12.00pm, 7 days