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Government taking strong action on family violence

(The following is the full text of a letter to the editor published in The Age in edited form on 5 June 2013.)

Dear Editor

Your editorial’s claim that the Coroners Court’s systemic review of family violence deaths may end is completely untrue, as is the claim that I refused to tell the Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee how much funding the government is allocating for that work (“Funding the battle against family violence”, 3/6).

In fact, the continuation of the systemic review of family violence deaths is strongly supported by both the government and the Court, as I have said publicly on numerous occasions.

As I informed the Parliamentary Committee, separate funding to the Court for this work ceased under the previous Labor government in 2010.  Since then, the systemic review has continued under the general funding provided each year to the Court.  So no such figure for separate funding exists that I could have provided.

More generally, the Coalition Government is continuing to take strong action against perpetrators of family violence, as of other crimes, and to support victims.  As well as providing more police who are helping more victims and taking action against more perpetrators, we have introduced new offences carrying up to five years’ jail for repeated or serious breaches of intervention orders, and have extended the operation of police safety notices from three days to five days.  

We are also expanding men’s behaviour change programs (including compulsory court-ordered programs), extending the hours of the Victims of Crime Helpline and expanding the availability of family violence counselling and support.

Yours sincerely

Robert Clark MP
Attorney-General.