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Sentencing Review

Thank you Madam Speaker,

I rise to just speak briefly as Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. I would like to bring to attention the need for review on bail decisions, which has been a hot topic in my office the past week. I have recently been contacted by several victim survivors of domestic violence, who have expressed to me their distress of having their family violence orders breached, perpetrator taken in by the police, only for the perpetrator to then be released on bail with a real threat of breaching orders again but with an escalated risk of harm. Not only is there an escalated risk of harm, there is also a real possibility that the degree of harm will be more severe than the previous breach. In the meantime, the victim-survivors – both the parent and their children, live in a constant state of fear and anxiety as their safety is at risk. Earlier this year the media reported a case where a perpetrator was granted bail after he was charged with manslaughter when his partner fell from a moving vehicle during a family violence incident.

We have also heard our Victim of Crimes Commissioner about the issues surrounding the use of ‘good character’ assessments as a mitigating factor for domestic and sexual violence sentencing. The Commissioner has said, and I quote, ‘an offender’s good character might enable that offending to be masked and remain undetected given the private nature of domestic and family violence.’

Madam Speaker, we need to do better. We need to review these mechanisms to ensure that we provide appropriate sentencing measures that are guided by evidence-based recommendations. It is imperative that we improve the effectiveness of family violence sentencing practices to match community expectations and build faith in the criminal justice process.


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