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Further changes to Domestic Violence laws from May 2017

  • Greater police protection –police protection notices are expanded to enable police to better protect a victim and their children, relatives and associates.
  • More tailored domestic violence orders –From 30 May 2017, the duration of domestic violence orders (DVOs) is increased to a minimum of five years unless the court is satisfied there are reasons for a shorter order. A court is also required to consider whether additional DVO conditions (beyond the standard conditions that the respondent be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence) are necessary or desirable to better protect the victim or a named person.
  • The views and wishes of people who fear or experience domestic violence should be sought to the extent it is appropriate and practicable before a decision affecting them is made under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012.
  • Consideration of family law orders–a court must consider any existing family law order and whether that order must be varied or suspended where it contradicts the protection needed by the victim or named children.
  • Non-fatal strangulation as a specific offence– From 5 May 2016, choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic setting is a stand-alone offence under the Criminal Code, with a maximum penalty of seven years.
  • Harsher penalties for police protection notice and release condition breaches –From 30 May 2017, maximum penalties for breaches of police protection notices and release conditions are increased to three years’ imprisonment (to follow the penalty for a breach of a DVO).
  • Information sharing– From 30 May 2017, a comprehensive information sharing framework will commence. The framework facilitates information sharing between key government and non-government entities to enable better risk assessment and management of serious domestic and family violence threats. Guidelines have been developed to support practitioners in domestic and family violence, such as specialist services, police and doctors, to appropriately share information.
  • Police can refer people to specialist service providers– From 30 May 2017, police can refer victims and perpetrators to specialist domestic and family violence service providers, without consent, if there is a threat to a person’s life, health or safety, or if the person has committed domestic violence.
  • National Domestic Violence Order Scheme– Model laws are being implemented for Queensland to participate in the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme, which will provide for the automatic mutual recognition of DVOs across Australia.

This article was prepared by Margaret Miller of Bell Legal Group. Margaret is a Partner in our Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and Litigation team. For all queries related to Family Law including domestic violence, relationship property, children’s issues and divorce contact Margaret Miller by calling 07 5597 3366 or send an email to mmiller@belllegal.com.au