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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2139 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

In effect, this ensures the protection of a victim until such time as the offender appears before the Magistrates Court applying for bail. The protection of the victim is then continued when court bail is granted by the use of bail conditions, including prohibitions on contact with the victim. The victim may also, when the court is sitting, make an application to obtain a protection order.

Emergency protection orders will be appropriate in only a relatively small number of circumstances. If the alleged offender has been arrested or arrest is likely, no application will be made. If the police are not satisfied that the victim of the alleged violence requires protection for his or her personal safety, an application will not be able to be made. So it is only when, notwithstanding that there is no arrest, the police nonetheless consider that the victim is at risk that an application will be able to be made. This could be where there is insufficient evidence on which to base an arrest and/or arrest is not possible because the whereabouts of an alleged offender are not known. If an order is obtained, it will be able to be served once the alleged offender is located.

Similarly, the proposed procedure for obtaining an emergency order will not remove the need for an alleged victim of domestic violence to subsequently seek the making of an interim protection order in person where the capacity exists to do so. Strong support has been expressed by the ACT magistracy, the Legal Aid Office, the Australian Federal Police and the Victims of Crime Coordinator for preserving the integrity of the dual - criminal-civil - system of protection afforded to victims of domestic violence in the Territory. Therefore, a critical feature of the proposed scheme is that it will only operate as a bridging mechanism providing immediate emergency protection until such time as a person with the capacity to make an application attends court to make an application.

Mr Speaker, the proposed ACT procedure will limit the opportunity for the civil response to be inappropriately used as an alternative to the criminal justice response. It will serve to improve the criminal justice response to victims of domestic violence in the Territory and also bring ACT legislation into line with that of other Australian jurisdictions. I commend this Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.39): Mr Speaker, I present the Statute Law Revision (Penalties) Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

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