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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 October 2015) . . Page.. 3758 ..

The increased focus will strengthen ACT Policing’s ability to respond to these incidents, with a focus on early intervention and support to victims, offender accountability, targeting intergenerational crime and targeting the link between family violence, drugs and mental illness. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, what are the new legislative reforms that will come about as a result of these teams, and how will this enhance police powers when responding to family and domestic violence?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for the question. One of the key focuses early on for the family violence teams will be to critically examine existing policy and legislation to identify opportunities to better protect women and their children. ACT Policing will continue to work closely with key stakeholders to develop new legislative proposals to enhance police powers when dealing with family violence issues.

This work to date has seen the development of one of the most important provisions in the Crimes (Domestic Violence and Family Violence) Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 which now allows police records of interviews with victims to be admitted as evidence in chief for the family violence offences and all sexual offences. These particular reforms will enhance the protection of our most vulnerable victims and police will be gathering the best evidence very soon after the alleged offence has occurred.

The CPO believes the introduction of these teams will also provide greater support to victims whose matters enter in the criminal justice process and provide better investigative tools for police investigating these crimes. He has said this is not just a step forward; it is a leap forward for our front-line officers.

ACT Policing has been working with stakeholders to ensure that these new legislative reforms focus on intervention and the protection of women and children. The creation of our community safety and family violence teams ensures that experts are working alongside our front-line police and criminal investigators to ensure the delivery of a connected and coordinated response.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how will these new teams work with existing community organisations and support government priorities on tackling family and domestic violence?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. There are many people and organisations in our community involved in the prevention of family violence. The family violence team will help strengthen the whole of government and partner agency approach to perpetrator intervention, legislative reform and information sharing.

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