Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Women spokesperson
The Greens welcome today’s announcement that a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation will be introduced in Tasmania, but question the delays in getting to this point.
The Tasmanian Coroner, family violence advocates and survivors, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, and every other Australian state have recognised the importance of making non-fatal strangulation a standalone offence. The Greens have also supported calls for Tasmania to enact this law.
This reform will help protect victims of family violence. It will also provide a foundation for growing awareness of the issue, and improving training and processes for those supporting survivors.
Importantly, a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation provides clarity to victims that this is a crime, and will hopefully give them more confidence to come forward.
We’ve heard directly from survivors just how much difference this law could have made to them.
While this reform is very welcome, there are questions about why it’s taken so long for the government to act. Coroner Olivia McTaggart recommended they examine the issue in July 2019, and advocates have raising the matter for years.
The Sentencing Advisory Council report released today also stated they received a referral from the Attorney General on 9 September last year. Ms Archer, however, had made at least four public statements* prior to that date claiming she had already taken this step.
Making non-fatal strangulation a standalone offence is an important legal reform for the women of Tasmania. Given the Liberals have dragged their heels for two years, we expect them to make this issue a priority, and introduce legislation to the Tasmanian Parliament as soon as possible.
* 5 July (news article): https://www.examiner.com.au/story/6819087/survivors-advocates-push-for-n...
30 July (news article): https://www.examiner.com.au/story/6857641/women-left-vulnerable-say-the-...
27 August (news article): https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-27/women-push-for-choking-strangulat...
27 August (Parliament): https://tasmps.greens.org.au/parliament/offence-non-fatal-strangulation-law