Stronger penalties for domestic and family violence perpetrators

People who repeatedly breach intervention orders will now face up to four years in jail or fines of up to $20,000, under laws that have now passed State Parliament.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, said the passage of the laws would give authorities strong new tools in the fight against domestic violence.

“Intervention orders are there to protect people who have experienced abuse at the hands of a loved one – and those who refuse to abide by them deserve to face the consequences,” Ms Chapman said.

“Under these changes there are far steeper penalties for anyone convicted of more than one breach of an intervention order within five years.

“This should serve as a strong deterrent to would-be perpetrators, and ensure that those who do break the law are punished for their actions.”

Attorney-General Chapman said the creation of a separate offence of strangulation will also help ensure more appropriate penalties are available for an offence that has been recognised as a precursor to domestic homicide.

“Strangulation or choking can be an indicator of future domestic homicide and, by creating a separate offence to reflect this, we are ensuring courts can treat this offence with the gravity it deserves,” Ms Chapman said.

“We have also expanded the definition of abuse to include forced marriage, preventing a person from entering that person’s place of residence, and threatening to distribute invasive images of a person without their consent.

“In addition, these laws will now ensure video recordings (such as recordings from police body cameras) that are made at the time of an incident are admissible in domestic violence proceedings.”

The passing of these laws adds to a suite of measures the Marshall Liberal Government has implemented to address domestic violence, including the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, implementing 40 emergency crisis beds for people fleeing abuse, and this week’s announcement by the Minister for Human Services that a State Government funded mobile phone app linking at-risk women directly to police and domestic violence services with the touch of a button is now available for use.

“As I’ve continued to say, if these measures save only one life, it will be worth it,” Ms Chapman said.