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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4276 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The amendment redrafts proposed new section 11 and the definition of "extremely serious injury" by removing any mention of permanency. It also slightly lessens the test in relation to the reduction in quality of life referred to by the Government in its Bill, but it does retain the other tests that the Government has. I think this is a reasonable compromise in relation to this definition, and I commend it to members.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (3.05 am): Again, this is a considerable watering down of the definition of "extremely serious injury". For the reasons I have already given, I do not think we should accept it.

MS TUCKER (3.06 am): I urge members, Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke in particular, to support this amendment from Mr Stanhope, because it will look after the second-class citizens the Government have just created.

Amendment negatived.

MS TUCKER (3.07 am): I ask for leave to move my amendment No. 6.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I move:

Page 10, line 25, proposed new paragraph 12(1)(c), add ", or another reasonably appropriate community service organisation or office holder (for example, a rape crisis service, a domestic violence support service or an aboriginal health service)".

This amendment modifies the absolute obligation that exists in this legislation to report to the police and identifies other possible reporting mechanisms. It picks up on a recommendation of the committee chaired by Paul Osborne and including Harold Hird, Jon Stanhope and Trevor Kaine. It modifies the tone and practice of compulsion so apparent in this legislation and accords victims of crime some dignity, independence and control of the situation.

There is a long way to go before all sections of society are comfortable dealing with the police in the context of every crime. Aboriginal people, women trapped in dysfunctional relationships - with or without children - and people who have some criminal record are surely still entitled to the protection of society. It is absolutely apparent that in some instances insisting that victims report to the police will result in fewer rather than more reports. Of course, it may save money. Perhaps that is why these conditions are there, but the people who will suffer are the very people most vulnerable to crimes of violence. Let me quote from the report of the working party:

One parent households have a high victimisation rate, as do young people under 25 years, the unemployed, and males (6% as opposed to 5% of females).\

It goes on to state:

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