Page 1712 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2016

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Family Violence Bill 2016

Mr Corbell, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Capital Metro, Minister for Health, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) (10.06): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Family Violence Bill 2016. This bill makes important changes to further strengthen the government’s and the community’s response to domestic and family violence, including sexual assault. Preventing domestic and family violence is, and continues to be, a high priority for this government. The government is working very closely with the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and other key government and community organisations to better respond to this form of violence.

Data from the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, or ANROWS as they are known, shows that one in four women experience domestic and family violence in Australia every year. Of those affected, 73 per cent of women experience more than one incident of violence. Domestic and family violence is a top risk factor for death, disability and illness, and almost 70 per cent of women murdered in Australia are victims of domestic or family violence.

Domestic, family and sexual violence is a reality and the government is determined to tackle it head on. In May last year the Australian Institute of Criminology found that, despite the national rate of homicide declining, two in every five homicide victims are killed by a family member. Up to 88 per cent of those deaths occurred within the victim’s home.

Domestic and family violence, including sexual violence, can no longer be ignored or excused. It might often happen behind closed doors, but it causes enduring damage to individuals and impacts on society as a whole. It is everyone’s responsibility to help guard against this insidious type of violence. To some extent, all of the amendments contained in this bill engage and limit the right to family of a person accused of domestic or family violence, while supporting the right to protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for victims.

This bill balances the rights of family violence perpetrators with the fundamental human rights of their victims, who are often women, children or other family members. While gender-based violence, including domestic violence, cannot be eliminated through law reform alone, legal measures are an essential component of any response to domestic and family violence.

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