Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 October 2015) . . Page.. 3657 ..
under division 4.2.2 apply. This means that complainants of domestic and family violence will have increased protections when giving evidence at court to help prevent re-victimisation during criminal proceedings.
The other main amendment to the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act will create a new scheme allowing police officers to record evidence-in-chief soon after a domestic or family violence incident which can be used during court proceedings as that person’s primary evidence. This evidence may be used in other proceedings where the evidence is relevant and appropriate submissions are made as to whether the evidence could be appropriate in the circumstances. The provisions do not expressly restrict the use of such evidence in other proceedings, instead allowing for the rules of evidence to apply.
These amendments seek to balance the rights of women and children to be safe in their family and free from torture and the defender’s rights in the criminal process. They are driven from recognition that domestic violence is never a one-off event. It is a persistent and deliberate culture of fear that we know silences survivors and cuts many of them off from processes of justice. It is a clear statement to those perpetrators who use violent control to prevent prosecution that we know what they are doing and that it will not be tolerated. It is a statement to survivors of violence, and those still living with it, that we understand their experiences and that as a community we want to hear their stories and ensure their safety.
As I have said before, we will not be able to arrest our way out of this problem. These amendments are important to protect people who are experiencing violence today. But we will also continue to work with our state and federal counterparts to address its cause and to build a future for Canberrans that is free from violence in all its forms. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.47): On behalf of the ACT Greens I will be supporting this bill, which seeks to make several legislative improvements in relation to domestic and family violence. I have spoken in this place before about the awful extent of domestic and family violence in Australia, including in the ACT, and I support measures that will help address it. I know all members of this place support these measures, and our response to domestic and family violence has been an admirable example of tripartisanship in the Assembly.
The most recent data that I have seen comes from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, or ANROWS, which produced a report last week analysing the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ personal safety survey 2012. This is the most comprehensive quantitative study of interpersonal violence in Australia. I have talked before in the Assembly about the disturbing statistics revealed in this survey. The new analysis by ANROWS has provided several hundred new statistical items related to violence against women. This work is called the horizons report and it builds on the already distressing picture of domestic and family violence in Australia.
I will relate just some of the facts from this report for members’ interest. One in four women have experienced violence by an intimate partner they may or may not have been living with. This expands on the conclusion of the ABS which said an estimated