Family Violence Reforms Bill 2022 (No 10)
Thursday 25 August 2022, Second reading speech
Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston)- As we are all aware, family violence, especially against women and children is a most insidious form of abuse. It affects a significant number of people. The Government's policy targeting these issues signals we, as lawmakers and community leaders, take these problems seriously and we are committed to doing something about it. Evidence tells us that family violence almost always escalates. As the Leader mentioned, things like strangulation, choking or suffocation are significant risk factors for future homicide. As the member for Murchison mentioned, there are non-violent aspects for abusive relationships, which are also indicators of future escalating abuse, like gaslighting, implicit threats and things like surveillance, control and destruction of property.
As a result, I see a definite need for legislation to address family violence before escalating events can occur. To this end, things like serial family violence perpetrator declarations can assist with intervention, prevention and signals that abuse in all forms are not okay. I believe the provisions constructing the serial family violence perpetrator declaration to be a good framework for assessing and quantifying unacceptable behaviour, and gives judges good discretion to take into account other matters, which when viewed altogether, can show there are serious problems and risk factors in and need of intervention.
Further to the policies developed under the Safe Homes, Families, Communities Action Plan, the behaviour change program also emphasises that intervention and support and ways to mitigate and prevent family violence. What is at the core of this bill is the focus on families, women and children who are at risk of violence and injury. We owe it to them and to the victims/survivors whose experience helped form these policy responses, to make meaningful strides towards putting an end to family violence. The Government takes it seriously, as we all do in this place. I hope these measures will go far to mitigating and preventing violence and abuse.