It was announced last week that South Australia is seeking to further crack down on domestic violence, as reported by InDaily’s Stephanie Richards.1 The State’s Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, announced that legislative changes will be made to:
- include taking personal photos of a person without their consent as an act of domestic violence;
- include blocking a person’s entry from their own home as an act of domestic violence;
- include a definition of ‘forced marriage’ as an act of domestic violence, to protect victims from being sent overseas for forced marriage or being forced into marriage within Australia.
- double the penalties for repeatedly breaching intervention orders;
- create a new offence for ‘non-fatal strangulation’; and
- allow videos from police cameras worn by officers to be used as evidence in trials of domestic violence crimes.
Ms Chapman said that the State Government has been working with both victims of domestic violence, and organisations that support them, in order to deter and punish potential offenders.
Ms Chapman described the changes as “arming the judiciary with the capacity” to prosecute offenders, particularly repeat offenders, more severely.
Under current legislation, attempted or non-fatal strangulation is prosecuted as attempted murder. Ms Chapman hopes that creating a new offence under Domestic Violence legislation, will lead to more successful prosecutions and ultimately, better protection for victims. The Advertiser reports2 that similar legislation in Queensland has led to over 800 charges of the offence, since 2016.
These proposed changes are supported by South Australian Police and the Chief Magistrate. The Attorney-General is looking to have a draft Bill before Parliament by the end of the month, for consideration by the Members over their winter break. If successfully passed, the new laws may be enforceable before the end of the year.
This means that Domestic Violence will constitute a wider range of acts, and penalties for breaching Court Orders relating to these acts will be doubled. This deterrence will hopefully lead to a decrease in such behaviour, and more incentive to adhere to the terms of Intervention Orders.
If you are a victim of Domestic Violence or require an Intervention Order, call the Police on 000, or 131 444 for assistance.
Stanley & Co Lawyers are experts in all areas of Intervention Orders and Criminal Law. If you, or someone you know, needs help through this difficult process, please contact us on (08) 7001 6135.