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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3729..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The recognition of a wider range of harm associated with domestic violence is consistent with the definition of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which includes psychological violence. The bill also 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.

The bill also expands the definition of "relative"to take into account the kinship and cultural ties of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, members of communities with non-English speaking backgrounds and people with particular religious beliefs. This definition is consistent with the importance given to the protection of the family under section 11 of the territory's Human Rights Act 2004 and the broad meaning given to "family"under the international covenant on civil and political rights. The bill expands the definition of "relevant person"to include relationships with similar dynamics to domestic relationships. The definition of "relevant person"is central to the definition of "domestic violence". The new definition will provide greater scope for the application of the domestic violence provisions in the act.

The bill includes a clear statement of objects and principles. While the general object of the legislation is to facilitate the safety and protection of all people who experience interpersonal violence, it particularly recognises that domestic violence is a form of interpersonal violence that needs a greater level of protective response.

Another provision of the bill that I specifically draw to the attention of members is the provision relating to personal protection orders in respect of the workplace. Employers at kindergartens, childcare centres and similar organisations, and school principals will now be able to take out a workplace order against people whom they believe pose a risk to the children in their care and staff in their employment. This amendment provides greater protection for children against people who may pose a risk to them.

The bill also recognises that a person's behaviour will be domestic violence if it causes personal injury, and not just physical injury, to someone. This is an important amendment that means that the court can now make a domestic violence order where a person has suffered not physical violence but mental distress. Violence, harassment and intimidation are not acceptable in our community, and this bill is another step towards addressing this sort of behaviour.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Youth night shelter

Ministerial statement

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Arts and Heritage, and Acting Minister for Health): I ask leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement concerning a youth night shelter.

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