More people will be protected from domestic violence due to amended laws set to come into force in September, according to the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland (FLPA).
The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 was the last legislative Act of the Bligh government and was passed last year with the support of the then LNP opposition.
FLPA president Deborah Awyzio said the new legislation gave a broader definition of ‘abuse’ to include financially abusive behaviours, greater police powers and more guidance to assist identify victims most in need of protection.
The changes also grant the court the power to make an order requiring a perpetrator to attend an approved intervention program or counseling she said.
“We support the new legislation and the additional powers it provides the courts in protecting individuals from situations where they are the victims of domestic violence,” Ms Awyzio said.
“In many instances, these individuals are women in or children of long-standing abusive relationships who are dealing with highly emotive and stressful situations daily.
“By redefining domestic violence with a more contemporary definition, cases will be able to be identified more easily and give victims greater peace of mind.”
Under the new laws, domestic violence is defined as behaviour that is physically or sexually abusive, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive, threatening or coercive, or behavior that controls through fear.
In its submission on the proposed Act in 2008, FLPA made a number of recommendations that have been included in the legislation including the changing of consent orders.
“The new Act also acknowledges our recommendations that arrangements be put in place for domestic violence orders to be made by consent without the court having to make a finding that domestic violence has occurred,” Ms Awyzio said.
In 2009-10 the Queensland Police recorded 49,372 domestic and family violence incidents (an increase of 11.5 per cent on the previous year) and laid 8,033 charges for breach of a domestic violence order.
In the same period, the courts received 22,754 applications fordomestic violence orders (an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year).
For further information, please contact:
Merrett Pye on 0422 096 049 or Caroline Thurlow on 0414 565 575
The Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland is the leading professional association for the family law sector in Queensland.