Sunday, 11 September 2016
Attorney General Michael Mischin said the Restraining Orders and Related Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2016 was part of the Liberal National Government's push to better protect victims of family violence while holding perpetrators of family violence to account for their actions.
Mr Mischin said the legislation introduced Family Violence Restraining Orders (FVROs) into the court system, which a court must issue unless it was inappropriate to do so, such as if the primary aggressor in a relationship was seeking an order against a victim.
The Attorney General said the FVROs would enable the court to order an offender to attend a behavioural change or intervention program to prevent further family violence from occurring. It would also empower the court to restrain a person from distributing or publishing intimate images of a person and from cyber-stalking.
"On its own, the justice system cannot eliminate family violence. However, we can encourage and support victims of violence in the home while seeking to deter, and punish, those in the community who choose to offend, and that is what this law does," he said.
"In particular, those who breach the conditions of a FVRO by posting 'revenge porn' on the internet or by using technology to stalk the subject of the order online will face serious criminal charges, which could send them to jail for two years."
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Liza Harvey said the overhaul of the legislation was primarily about supporting and protecting victims of crime.
"Not only do the proposed punishments reflect community expectations, the changes will also protect vulnerable people and give victims confidence, perpetrators will be held to account," Ms Harvey said.
Mr Mischin said the Bill also addressed a 2012 commitment made by the State Government to clarify and strengthen Western Australia's criminal law in relation to unlawful acts which caused harm to a woman's unborn child or the loss of her pregnancy.
"While nothing can ever undo the loss of a pregnancy or harm to an unborn child that an expectant mother and her family will suffer as a result of a criminal act, this Bill confirms that violence to an unborn child is violence to the mother, and that such actions are unacceptable and will not escape an appropriate punishment," he said.
"If a person intentionally causes grievous bodily harm to a pregnant woman which results in the loss of her pregnancy, that person will face up to 20 years' imprisonment, while a person who causes grievous bodily harm to a woman's unborn child in other circumstances could be jailed for up to 14 years."
Other key aspects of the Bill include:
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