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Sentencing Report on Family Violence

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 7 December 2015

Tags: Women, Family Violence, Sentencing

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Women spokesperson

The long-awaited report of the Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) in to the sentencing of family violence offenders reinforces the Tasmanian Greens' position that making victims of violence an accessory to breaches of Family Violence Orders can discourage victims from reporting incidents.

Workers in the family violence and women's sectors in Tasmania have repeatedly raised concerns that S.35 (1) of the Family Violence Act 2004 and S.73 (3) of the Justices Act 1959 can punish the victims of family violence twice over and that reform is needed.

It is longstanding common law provision that a victim does not face charges of aiding, abetting or instigating

During debate on important amendments to the Family Violence Act in September this year, the Greens urged the government to address this flawed approach to ensure women aren't facing the further sanction of a charge or the terrible punishment of losing their children as a result of these legal provisions.

South Australia has recognised the potential for injustice and removed these provisions from their family violence framework.

Premier Hodgman, who was carrying the Bill through the Lower House, stated his advice was that this was the preferred approach to discourage the victims of family violence from enabling the perpetrator to breach a court order.  He did not rule out re-examining the matter in the future.

Now is the time.  The SAC has looked at the evidence and taken a considered approach that seeks to protect the victims of family violence and ensure sentences handed down by the Courts reflect the gravity of family violence offences.

The Premier, Attorney General and the Minister for Women now have informed, foundational advice upon which to act to better serve the victims of family violence.

The advice from the SAC makes it clear that the current accessory provisions are unfair and counterproductive to the goal of creating a safer Tasmania for women and children.  The Greens believe it is time they were repealed.