New Laws To Support Family Violence Victim Survivors

Victim survivors of family violence will be able to provide recorded statements via body-worn cameras, under new laws introduced by the Andrews Labor Government today.

The Justice Legislation Amendment (Family Violence Protection and Other Matters) Bill 2018 will allow for a recorded statement taken by police at family violence incidents – at trial sites in Epping and Ballarat – to be used as evidence in court.

The new laws build on the Labor Government’s rollout of the first stage of 150 body-worn cameras to police in Epping and Ballarat in April.

In total, 11,000 cameras will be deployed to police across the state by 2020, as part of the Government’s record $227 million technology investment which is modernising policing across Victoria.

The reforms will deliver on a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence for a trial of the cameras which is supported by any necessary legislative amendment.

The Bill will also allow victim survivors to file family violence intervention order applications online by making a formal declaration of truth.

Additionally, for the first time, courts will be able to make interim family violence intervention orders on their own motion at any point during the criminal process, such as during bail hearings, committal hearings, during a trial, at sentencing, and on appeal.

This will allow the courts to act immediately to manage any risk to a victim’s safety based on material emerging from the proceedings, and may alleviate the need for victim survivors to apply for an interim order.

The reforms will also expand the examples set out in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 to include dowry-related abuse and forced marriage – as examples of family violence.