Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 August 2022) . . Page.. 2323 ..
and this will include technology-facilitated abuse. The contravention of a condition of a family violence order is an offence attracting a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
Members will recall from the introduction stage that this bill also amends section 56 of the Crimes Act to change the name of the offence from “sexual relationship with a child or young person under special care” to “persistent sexual abuse of a child or young person under special care”. As I said to the Assembly when I introduced the bill, this reform has been included as a direct result of the advocacy of former Australian of the Year Grace Tame. The amendment will also implement one of the law reform recommendations of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Steering Committee in its recent report Listen. Take Action to Prevent, Believe and Heal.
This is an important reform that removes the term “relationship”, which implies consent, and replaces it with “persistent sexual abuse”, which recognises the true gravity of the offending behaviour. This amendment will ensure that the language in our legislation does not in any way minimise or sanitise sexual violence. The elements of the offence that the prosecution must prove will not, however, be affected by this amendment.
In addition, as a consequence of the new aggravated family violence offence scheme, the bill also amends the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act to insert relevant offences into the schedule of disqualifying offences for the background checking scheme.
Disqualifying offences are relevant to the assessment of whether a person can be given registration to engage in a regulated activity that involves contact with a vulnerable person. The background checking scheme is essential to the protection of vulnerable people, such as children, as it prevents individuals who are assessed as posing a high risk from working in the sector. The offences which have been added to the schedule of disqualifying offences are consistent with those which are already included in the background checking scheme and this will ensure that there are no gaps or inconsistencies.
Lastly, the bill introduces a statutory requirement for the Family Violence Act that the amendments introduced by this bill are reviewed three years after the commencement of the bill. I note that Mr Cain has moved an amendment on this, and I will come back to discuss this when we get to the detail stage. In conclusion, this bill creates a number of important protections and measures directed to prevent domestic and family violence in our community. I welcome members’ support for the bill and I commend it to the Assembly.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (5.50), by leave: I rise today to speak in support of the Family Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, which is part of the ACT government’s important work to address domestic and family violence in the ACT.