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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3728..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Act I hope that we can get on with the job of properly studying asbestos and collecting data. We will then be able to pass on that information to members of the public to ensure their safety and peace of mind. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Bill 2004

Mr Stanhope, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (4.03): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present the Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Bill 2004. 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 the legislative requirement to examine ACT domestic violence and protection orders legislation for consistency with model domestic violence laws, and to review the operation of provisions relating to domestic violence.

The review examined the scope of domestic violence and personal protection order provisions and sought answers to questions such as what should constitute domestic or personal violence for the purpose of the act, who is a relevant person for the purpose of making an application for domestic violence order, who may apply and when the court may grant an order.

The Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Bill 2004 provides a single consistent process for dealing with both domestic violence and protection orders. I would like to briefly highlight 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. The 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.

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