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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2137 ..

Thursday, 24 September 1998


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) 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.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.31): Mr Speaker, I present the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill fulfils the Government's commitment to provide 24-hour-a-day protection to victims of domestic violence by introducing a procedure to enable any person dealing with immediate threats of domestic violence to seek an interim protection order at any time. The police and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service have confirmed that most incidents of domestic violence occur outside normal court hours, when magistrates and registrars are not readily available to grant interim protection orders. The proposed procedure, detailed in this Bill, would enable interim protection applications to be made outside court hours - during the week outside working hours, on weekends or on public holidays. This will enable victims of domestic violence to seek an emergency protection order at times when it may be most needed.

Under the proposed scheme, an application for an emergency interim order may be made by telephone application to a judicial officer, being a magistrate, a registrar or an authorised deputy registrar. The capacity to seek an application in the ACT will be restricted to authorised police officers, such as patrol sergeants or a watch-house sergeant, at each police station. Police officers attending a scene will need to provide their patrol sergeant with the details relevant for obtaining a telephone emergency order. The restriction will serve to ensure that those who have the capacity to authorise an application for an order do so in a consistent and accountable manner.

An authorised police officer will be able to make an application, on behalf of a victim, where the court is not sitting and in circumstances where he or she is satisfied that an arrest is not practicable or there are no grounds to arrest an alleged offender. The police officer will need to be satisfied that the respondent has engaged in conduct which gives

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