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MELBOURNE, July 19 AAP - Victorian police will have the power to directly intervene in domestic violence cases for the first time under new legislation aimed at protecting victims.
From mid 2008, police will be able to issue on-the-spot safety notices to remove offenders from the family home.
The temporary notices operate like intervention orders but will be able to be imposed after hours, outside the jurisdiction of the courts.
Police sergeants and higher ranking officers will authorise the notices, which provide interim protection for victims before the matter comes to court, which must occur within 72 hours.
Offenders who breach the order can be jailed for two years and fined more than $26,000.
Almost 30,000 incidents of domestic violence are reported to Victorian police each year but it's estimated only one fifth of cases are reported.
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks who announced the new measures today saidIt will make it easier for victims of domestic violence to get the support and protection they need. It is crucial that police have adequate tools to respond to family violence quickly and decisively at times when courts are not open.
Police Commissioner Christine Nixon saidPolice could now impose the notices without the victims' consent.
It is about us taking the responsibility off that person and I think it's very important that we are saying to the community that family violence is an offence, it's a crime and in any other crime we're not going to ask victims whether they'd like us to proceed and that's the important part.