Page 2286 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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In addition to the operation of the Family Violence Court, the ACT has had the benefit of the family violence intervention program, or the FVIP, as a coordinated criminal justice and community response to criminal family violence. This is a longstanding institution, a coordinated interagency response which was first recommended by the ACT Community Law Reform Committee in 1995 and which commenced in May 1998. The FVIP’s focus is on improving the criminal justice system response to family violence by ensuring all members work cooperatively together, maximise safety and protection for victims of family violence, provide opportunities for offender accountability and rehabilitation and work towards the continual improvement of the program itself.

The FVIP is made up of members from ACT Policing, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Corrective Services, the Victims of Crime Coordinator, Legal Aid, ACT Health, the Community Services Directorate, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate and the courts and tribunals. The FVIP has been recognised by the Australian violence prevention awards on three occasions since it was first instigated.

The Australian Institute of Criminology reported on the effectiveness of the FVIP in 2012 and found there was evidence that the FVIP is effective in establishing relationships between agencies and in ensuring they work cooperatively in responding to family and domestic violence. That report from the Institute of Criminology made 22 recommendations on how the FVIP can achieve its aims, and the memorandum of agreement between the relevant agencies was remade in response to those recommendations. This 17-year commitment to the family violence intervention program is one example of a strong bipartisan commitment by successive governments to addressing domestic and family violence.

Mr Hanson’s motion is a timely one; it comes at a time when the government is working very closely with the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and other key government and community organisations to strengthen our response to domestic and family violence, including sexual assault, in the ACT. A key piece of this work is the government’s response to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council’s report on domestic and family violence, including sexual assault, in the ACT.

That report follows on from the extraordinary meeting of the council which was held in April this year, which saw over 55 participants attending, including nine members of the Assembly, and which gave everyone the opportunity to have an open and honest conversation about how the government and other stakeholders could further strengthen and improve responses to domestic and family violence, including sexual assault. The government expects to table its response to the roundtable’s recommendations during this sitting period. The response will welcome the council’s recommendations and it will outline the government’s intention to use the recommendations as a basis for further change and improvement.

In addressing the 33 recommendations in the council’s report the government will take the opportunity to incorporate the council’s views in the second implementation plan under the ACT’s prevention of violence against women and children strategy.

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