More than a year has passed since a Coroner’s report detailed the case for enacting a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation, yet the Attorney General, Elise Archer, still hasn’t committed to this potentially life saving law reform.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart’s report, and subsequent statements made by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, highlights how Tasmania’s legal framework fails to effectively deal with this issue. The need for action is urgent.
Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and most recently Western Australia have enacted this reform. Victoria has also announced its intention to follow. Tasmania is unfortunately lagging behind the nation in putting in place important protections for women and families who are experiencing domestic violence.
The evidence is clear – this is an important reform that helps to protect victims of family violence. It will also provide the foundation for increasing awareness, training, and support for those assisting victims.
The Minister has previously indicated she has asked the Sentencing Advisory Council to look at this issue. The work being done by the Council will help inform the drafting of legislative changes, but there is already more than enough evidence both from Tasmania and other jurisdictions this is a reform that must be prioritised.
The Tasmanian government must commit to enacting non-fatal strangulation legislation as a matter of priority to better protect women and families.