Four year minimum jail terms for attacks in breach of family violence orders

  • Strong penalties for attacks in breach of family violence orders
  • Four year minimum jail term for perpetrators under strong new laws
  • Napthine Government building a safer Victoria

Family violence perpetrators who seriously injure their victim while breaching a family violence order will face a minimum of four years in jail under strong new laws to be introduced by a re-elected Napthine Government.

Premier Denis Napthine said offenders who breach a family violence order by approaching, attacking and seriously injuring their victim will face a four year statutory minimum jail term.

“This four year minimum jail term will reinforce the very clear message that violence against family members will not be tolerated and perpetrators who breach family violence orders can expect to go to jail for a long time,” Dr Napthine said.

“When a perpetrator has had a family violence order made against them, and still goes ahead to attack their victim in breach of that order, there needs to be very strong consequences; both to protect the victim from further offending and to drive home to all perpetrators that family violence orders must not be breached.”

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the Coalition Government has previously legislated to reverse the reduction in maximum sentences for breaches of family violence orders by the previous Labor government.

“We have reinstated sentences of up to five years in jail for repeated breaches of family violence orders and breaches intended to cause fear to victims,” Mr Clark said.

“Four year minimum terms for offenders who cause serious injuries in breach of a family violence order will further reinforce the message that violence against a family member in the home is just as much a crime as violence against a stranger on the street, and the law will treat it as such.

“Four years will be the minimum sentence for these crimes – offenders will face a maximum sentence of up to 20 years for intentionally causing serious injury to their victim, or 15 years for causing serious injury recklessly.”

Mr Clark said the four year statutory minimum sentences will be based on similar statutory minimum sentence laws previously introduced by the Coalition Government and will deem a serious injury in breach of a family violence order to be an attack involving gross violence.

A re-elected Napthine Government will bring legislation into Parliament early next year to implement this reform.

Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said this reform added to the wide range of other reforms and initiatives introduced by the Coalition Government to stop family violence occurring, keep women and children safe and hold perpetrators to account

“The $150 million action package we announced last month meant the Coalition Government has more than doubled family violence funding since we came to office,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“The initiatives we have taken address the causes of family violence, they educate the community, they provide support services for victims and they hold perpetrators to account.

“Unlike Daniel Andrews and Labor who would waste time and money on a Royal Commission, the Coalition knows what needs to be done and is getting on with doing it.

Ms Wooldridge highlighted previous reforms and initiative introduced by the Coalition Government, including:

  • Victoria’s largest ever prevention campaign in partnership with Our Watch, including a social marketing and behaviour change campaign and local community action;
  • expanded crisis accommodation support for women and children;
  • a trial of GPS monitoring of high risk perpetrators that also allows victims to be warned and to contact authorities when a perpetrator comes near;
  • additional legal and advocacy support for women;
  • expanded men’s behaviour change programs for men in mandated and voluntary programs and in prison;
  • specialist staff in courts to provide support for victims and advise respondents on their responsibilities and on options available to them;
  • improved and expanded post-crisis support for women and children including reforms to police referrals and Risk Assessment Management Panels (RAMPS) to keep women and children at high risk of violence safe;
  • legislative reforms to give victims of family violence the right to tell their story publicly where a perpetrator breaches an intervention order; and
  • significantly expanding police family violence and sexual assault teams, while empowering police to issue Family Violence Safety Notices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.