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New national register for domestic and family violence orders

NEW NATIONAL REGISTER FOR DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE ORDERS
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Friday, 4th March 2011

ATTORNEY-GENERAL - HON. ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

MINISTER FOR THE STATUS OF WOMEN - HON. KATE ELLIS MP

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis today welcomed the agreement of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General to implement a national scheme for domestic and family violence orders that will improve protection for victims of domestic violence.

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is meeting today in Wellington, New Zealand.

The proposed scheme, to be applied Australia-wide, will allow a domestic or family violence order (DVO) issued by a court in one jurisdiction to be automatically recognised in other jurisdictions.

Under current arrangements, if a protected person wants to have their DVO recognised in another jurisdiction they have to register the order with a court in that jurisdiction putting the onus entirely on the victim, Mr McClelland said.

Many people fleeing domestic violence may not be aware of the requirement to register the order if moving interstate.

In addition, some protected people are too fearful for their safety to approach a court.

Under the national scheme, victims of domestic violence will be able to travel or move to another State and Territory and be automatically protected by their DVO.

Allowing court issued domestic and family violence orders to be valid and enforceable across State and Territory borders is an important improvement in the protection of victims of domestic violence.

Ms Ellis said the national DVO scheme is a key commitment in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their children 2010 2022.

The National Plan, launched last month, is a single unified strategy that brings together efforts across Governments to reduce violence against women.

The Commonwealth and state and territory governments are committed to reducing domestic violence, and strengthening family violence laws is an important part of this priority, Ms Ellis said.

Alarmingly, one in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.  Almost one in five has experienced sexual violence.

These figures are staggering and deeply disturbing.  The National Plan represents an end to the ad hoc and generalised solutions to this type of violence, and commits all governments to work together, to share our best practices and to make a real difference for Australian women.

States and Territories will now work together to draft legislation to give effect to this agreement.

Media contacts:  
Ryan Liddell  (McClelland)  0427 225 763
Jamila Rizvi   (Ellis)  0438 644 603
Secretary SPCA said
Violence in our society is a significant problem and this measure will not help reduce violence in our community. The only way to reduce violence is to educate children and young adults in schools and educational institutes that it is unacceptable in our communities and households and to reduce the availability of drugs, alcohol, weapons and other substances in the vulnerable areas of society at large.

We often see many applications for protection orders that are simply efforts to gain advantage in protracted family court matters and the use of orders in this area is problematic and is causing increased workload on already overloaded local magistrates.

It would be interesting to see how many people are actually protected by this measure. I would think not many when you look at the number of orders made.

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