Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Family Violence Intervention Orders

My adjournment debate is for the Attorney[1]General. The action that I am seeking is for family violence intervention orders to be reviewed to assess the viability of moving the onus for removing or varying an order onto recidivist perpetrators rather than the victims and police. Without a central notification system, which has been a recommendation of many reports in recent times, notifications to victims about intervention orders are getting missed regularly, putting them at risk. I debated which minister would be the most appropriate to direct this to, and whilst the Minister for Police may seem practical, they do not make decisions about who must remove intervention orders. As I understand it, intervention orders are within the Attorney’s remit, including their duration and who bears the onus to remove them. A senior police member in the family violence unit told me some years ago that he believed it would be beneficial for recidivist family violence offenders to have the onus placed on them to remove an indefinite intervention order. Currently under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008, intervention orders can be made indefinitely under part 4, division 7, of the act. From what Victoria Police members tell me, these orders are not used nearly enough and clog up our court system with renewing orders. The best way I can describe why we need these changes is through a real-life example. A person in my electorate recently contacted me. She has a family violence intervention order against her ex[1]husband, and she wishes to remain anonymous. This person was lucky in that she had remembered her IVO was coming up for expiry, so she checked in with her local police and the court registrar to see why she had not been contacted about extending it yet. The policeman sounded a bit worried on the phone and assured her that he would contact the police prosecutor to get an emergency interim order out for her protection. He told her to stay away from the town for her own safety. The interim order was served and the matter is currently going through the courts, but it never should have gotten to this stage. The affected family member never should have been expected to make contact in the 48 hours before the order expired. How are victims of crime who have an active intervention order against perpetrators still not being advised of their expiry or being asked if they want them extended? My suggestion is a solution to make sure what happened to this person does not happen again. No-one ever expected the Royal Commission into Family Violence to pick up every little issue and address every little loophole in our family violence laws. So rather than the government continually referencing the royal commission and the $3.5 billion spent, can we not recognise there are still some issues that are actually growing and need to be fixed? I reiterate: the action that I seek is for this reverse onus to be explored for recidivist family violence offenders who have indefinite intervention orders out against them.


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