Issued: Thursday, 5 May 2016
Domestic violence victims and their loved ones will get increased protection under changes to the Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) scheme, which will be introduced into Parliament today by Attorney General Gabrielle Upton.
“The NSW Government’s law holds perpetrators accountable for trying to control their victims through fear and violence,” Ms Upton said.
Domestic violence offences will now also include any and all NSW or Commonwealth criminal offence where the defendant intends to coerce, control or cause the victim to fear for their safety, like using a mobile carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.
The law also introduces ADVOs written in plain English, which spell out examples of the consequences of breaches to improve information for perpetrators and victims.
For the first time, NSW courts would have power to impose an ADVO, without the court having to be satisfied that a victim actually fears violence.
“This is an important change because we know victims can be reluctant to tell police they’re afraid of their partner due to concerns about reprisals,” Ms Upton said.
The legal definition of a domestic relationship is also being expanded so a victim’s current partner can seek an ADVO if targeted by the victim’s ex-partner.
"Perpetrators may threaten the victim’s new partner, which is why we are ensuring everyone affected by domestic violence has the legal protection of an ADVO," Ms Upton said.
Magistrates will hear final applications for ADVOs even if the victim doesn’t appear in court and police will be notified of any application to change or revoke an ADVO.
The legislation will also enshrine in law that self-represented defendants cannot personally cross-examine child witnesses during ADVO applications, and that a person cannot apply for an ADVO to be revoked after it has expired.
The NSW Government’s changes will implement all 17 recommendations of the statutory review of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007.