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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 2 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 543..


Thursday, 17 February 2005

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry): took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanation statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra-Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Bill 2004 lapsed with the dissolution of the Fifth Assembly. I am reintroducing the bill. It will be known as the Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Bill 2005. The bill is the end product of an extensive review of the current domestic violence and protection orders legislation. The review was undertaken as a result of a legislative requirement to examine ACT domestic violence and protection orders legislation for consistency with model domestic violence laws, and review the operation of the provisions relating to domestic violence. The review examined the scope of the domestic violence and personal protection order provisions and sought answers to questions such as what should constitute domestic or personal violence for the purposes of the act, who is a relevant person for the purpose of making an application for a domestic violence order, who may apply and when the court may grant an order.

The Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Bill 2005 provides a single consistent process for dealing with both domestic violence and protection orders. I will briefly highlight for members a few aspects of the bill. The most obvious change made by the bill is the renaming of the Protection Orders Act 2001 to the Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act 2001. The new name acknowledges the difference between domestic violence orders and personal protection orders and gives greater recognition to domestic violence as a particular form of interpersonal violence that requires a higher level of protective response.

The bill makes important definitional changes with the expansion of the definition of domestic violence to include threats to or acts against pets and animals; burglary and destroying and damaging property. This amendment is important as it recognises that threats of animal abuse or the abuse of pets, and the destruction and damage of property are powerful tools often used by abusers to inflict fear and harm upon their victims. The recognition of a wider range of harm associated with domestic violence is consistent with the definition in the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which includes psychological violence. The bill recognises that the right to protection from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in section 10 of the Human

Rights Act 2004 requires effective legislative measures against domestic and personal violence.


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