Bracks’ delay means 500,000 violence victims miss out on protection

Delay by the Bracks Government in implementing measures put forward by the Liberal Party in 2003 means that these measures have not been available to help the estimated 500,000 victims of domestic violence incidents that have occurred since that time.

The Premier announced today that from mid-2008 police will be able under a “trial program” to issue interim, on-the-spot safety notices lasting for up to 72 hours to protect domestic violence in a way similar to intervention orders, but without needing to go before a court.

The measure is almost identical to the policy announced by the Liberal Party in November 2003 that police would be able to issue immediate interim intervention orders lasting for up to 72 hours with the verbal telephone authorisation of a magistrate or bail justice.

Such an interim intervention order would allow the alleged perpetrator of the violence to be immediately removed from the home to provide protection where the victim or other family members were at risk of further harm from their abuser.

As the Liberal Party argued at that time, it is often too dangerous for police to leave a victim while seeking authorisation from a court and allowing such interim orders to be issued would offer greater protection for victims of domestic violence and their families.

“It is typical of the Bracks Government that it has taken them almost four years to pick up on a policy put forward by the Liberal Party in 2003, and then to take a further year to actually implement the policy, and even then only on a trial basis,” Shadow Attorney-General Robert Clark said.

“There are around 30,000 incidents of domestic violence reported to police each year, and the government estimates that there are a further 120,000 incidents each year that go unreported.

“This means that from the time the Liberal Party first put forward this initiative in November 2003 until the time it is implemented by the Bracks Government, well over 500,000 incidents of domestic violence will have occurred which will have missed out on the potential protection this measure would have provided.”