Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Keeping Family Violence Perpetrators accountable for their actions

My question is for the Minister for Workplace Safety on behalf of the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence in the other place. I thank the minister for meeting with me yesterday and our discussions on perpetrator accountability, or lack thereof. Just this week Michelle Darragh, pregnant with her third child, was allegedly murdered by her former partner. Our thoughts and condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones. It seems that the government’s family violence strategy may not be quite working to its best capability. The Crime Statistics Agency data backs up this view that the current approach is failing, with an 18 per cent increase in family violence offences in the last financial year. There were also 34 000 instances of family violence committed in the presence of a child. That is a 35 per cent increase over the last three years. Given around 77 per cent of children who witness family violence go on to be involved with the justice system within five years, this is incredibly worrying. Minister, can you please elaborate as to how the government is keeping family violence perpetrators accountable for their actions?

Thank you, Minister. There has been around $3.5 billion spent by the government to try to reduce family violence. Our party holds concerns about where all this money is going, in particular as at any one time there are around 500 offenders waiting for behaviour change programs. Additionally, the evidence-based Caring Dads program, for perpetrators who use violence against or in the presence of children, has not been rolled out statewide. It is only available in limited areas across the state. How do we plan to reduce perpetrator behaviour when there is a six- to nine-month wait for programs? It seems we need to keep two things in mind: adequate funding for perpetrator programs and an adequate sentencing regime to deal with perpetrators. Minister, whilst you do not have sentencing within your remit, your role does give you the chance to recommend improvements to sentencing to reduce family violence, including where it affects children. My supplementary question therefore is: Minister, will you speak with the Attorney-General to review sentencing for family violence that is perpetrated in front of children to ensure that it is reflective of community views?


Keep up with the latest
Western Victoria News.

Subscribe to my newsletter…

Enter your details to keep up to date with what I am doing in Parliament and in the community.