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In Australia, domestic violence is a major health and welfare issue.

However, we often fail to comprehend the depravity and extent of domestic violence as we often revert to the safety of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

To truly appreciate the severity of domestic violence, we must note the following:

  • On average, one woman per week is murdered by her current or former partner.
  • One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
  • One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.
  • One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.

In response to these alarming statistics, the Attorney-General’s Department has reported that new laws targeting the perpetrators of domestic violence have come into effect. This will ultimately give authorities stronger tools to tackle repeat and serious offenders.

New Criminal Offence

As of 31 January 2019, a new stand-alone offence of non-fatal strangulation will come into force. As strangulation is a precursor for domestic violence, a separate offence will be created to provide the Court with greater discretion to treat it as a more serious offence.

Repeat Offenders

Tougher penalties have also been introduced for people that repeatedly breach intervention orders. Under the new laws, people who have been convicted of a previous breach within the preceding five years will be liable to a penalty of up to four years in jail or fines up to $20,000.

The Attorney-General’s Department is confident that these laws will send a clear message that family violence is not tolerated by our community, and people who continually defy these orders will face the serious consequences.

 

‘Scales of Justice – Frankfurt Version’ by Michael Coghlan via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0)

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