Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 August 2022) . . Page.. 2326 ..
economic abuse. The inclusion of technology-facilitated abuse will ensure that the definition of family violence is modernised and more accurately reflects the scope of potential domestic and family violence behaviours.
Technology-facilitated abuse is an increasingly common part of domestic and family violence. The eSafety Commissioner reports that more than 99 per cent of Australian victim survivors of domestic and family violence have experienced technology-facilitated abuse. This reform highlights that technology-facilitated abuse can be harmful and, just like other types of abuse, can, in particular, negatively impact on mental health.
Finally, the bill amends the name of the offence in section 56 of the Crimes Act to “persistent sexual abuse of a child or young person”. The existing language of this crime as “maintaining a sexual relationship with a child or young person” suggests a level of consent or complicity by the victim-survivor. The rewording of this offence by the bill is intended to reflect better the true nature of this offence as predatory and exploitative and is a move towards greater national consistency. Advocates such as Grace Tame, Nina Funnell and others have been calling for changes to this language for some time, and I am proud that the ACT is now able make this change a reality.
The bill also includes a provision that requires a review of the operation and effectiveness of the Family Violence Act and the amendments in this bill after three years. I support that a review must be tabled in the Assembly. The three-year time frame has been selected to allow sufficient time for the provisions to be used and for data to be collected and analysed. This review safeguard has been included to ensure that there are no unintended consequences of the reforms and to allow the government to be made aware of any gaps or issues that need to be addressed.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the important part that this reform plays in the ACT government’s commitment to addressing domestic and family violence in the ACT community. This work reflects the ACT government’s commitment to listen to the voices of victim-survivors and to ensure that we have a justice system that holds the perpetrators of domestic and family violence to account.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.
MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (6.01), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 to 3 circulated in my name together and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendments [see schedule 1 at page 2341].
I will not labour this. I made my point this morning. But I will, just for clarity, say that the purpose of my amendments is to address the time frame proposed in clause 94 of the bill, which would be section 156 of the primary act. Subsection (1) says: