Tasmania Family Violence Reforms Draft Bill Released for Comment

Thursday 14 October 2021 @ 10.35 a.m. | Judiciary, Legal Profession & Procedure | Legal Research

To better protect the victims and survivors of family violence and their children, the Tasmanian Government has released the Draft Family Violence Reforms Bill 2021 (Tas) (“the Draft Bill”) for public consult. The Draft Bill proposes amendments to the existing legislative framework “to reduce levels of family violence in Tasmania, and improve the way our justice system deals with perpetrators of family violence”, according to the consultation website.

About the Draft Bill

As outlined in the Draft Explanatory Material (“the Draft EM”), the proposed legislation follows:

“Government [commitment] to strengthening family violence laws by creating a new declaration for repeat family violence offenders... This Draft Bill delivers on these commitments and includes additional miscellaneous amendments to improve the operation of the family and sexual violence legislative framework.”.

Specifically, the Draft Bill seeks to amend provisions of the:

  • Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas);
  • Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2005 (Tas);
  • Corrections Act 1997 (Tas);
  • Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas);
  • Evidence Act 2000 (Tas);
  • Evidence (Children and Special Witnesses) Act 2001 (Tas);
  • Firearms Act 1996 (Tas); and
  • Sentencing Act 1997 (Tas).

The Serial Family Violence Perpetrator Declaration

One of the key amendments proposed by the Draft Bill is the introduction of the Serial Family Violence Perpetrator Declaration (“the SFVP Declaration”) to the Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas).

According to the Draft EM it is designed to:

"recognises that serial family violence perpetrators present a high risk of repeat and escalating offending. It aims to provide for a heightened justice response proportionate to the severity of a perpetrator’s family violence offending and assessed risk of future family violence offending, through the imposition of certain restrictions, facilitating rehabilitation or providing for enhanced supervision.”.

The SFVP Declaration would be applicable to perpretators with offences against a single or multiple and successive partners.

The Draft EM further explains:

"The Draft Bill provides that either the Supreme Court of Tasmania or Magistrates Court may make an SFVP Declaration if the perpetrator is at least 18 years old at the time an application is made and:

  • has been convicted of at least two indictable family violence offences committed on separate days; or
  • three family violence offences committed on separate days if they are summary offences or a combination thereof; or
  • they have plead or been found guilty of the crime of persistent family violence at section 170A of the Criminal Code."

Proposed Miscellaneous Amendments

The Draft Bill also proposes an expansion of the definition of “family violence”. This amendment seeks to include additional specific offences, in order to provide for alternative convictions for certain offences under the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas). The Draft Bill also seeks to expand the definition of “harassing”, to clarify that individuals who make unwelcome contact is performing an act of family violence.

The Draft Bill also seeks to expand the list of conditions available under Police Family Violence Orders, in order to enhance the Safe at Home response in circumstances where a person has committed or is likely to commit family violence.

Consultation on the Draft Bill and its explanatory materials has ended.

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[Draft] Family Violence Reforms Bill 2021 (Tas) and additional explanatory materials available from TimeBase LawOne Service

Family Violence Reforms Bill 2021 - Have your say (Department of Justice)

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