Family Violence Safety Notices

Family Violence Safety Notices 

When it comes to police dealing with family violence and protecting victims, every minute counts. 

That’s why a Liberal Nationals Government will introduce legislation allowing attending police to enforce an immediate intervention order in cases of family violence, without losing critical time seeking an interim order.

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will amend the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 to allow a Victoria Police member of Senior Constable, or higher rank, present on location to authorise the issue of on-the-spot, Family Violence Safety Notices. 

Currently, Family Violence Safety Notices can only be issued on an interim basis by a Victoria Police officer of Sergeant rank or higher. 

In practice an officer as senior as a Sergeant or higher rank is seldom in attendance or nearby. This is especially the case in regional areas. As a result it can be hours before a Family Violence Safety Notice can be issued and served.

This change will mean that a Family Violence Safety Notice can be issued and served immediately by a Senior Constable or higher rank.

Any breach of this order can result in the arrest and remand of the offender. 

Issuing a Family Violence Safety Notice by attending police does not prevent parties to the order, either the alleged victim or the alleged offender, from seeking a Magistrates Court hearing as soon as possible.

A Liberal Nationals Government will also legislate to remove the current 14 day limit for Family Violence Safety Notices so they will operate until such time as an application time is made to the Magistrates Court. 

At the moment, Family Violence Safety Notices expire after up to 14 days and then an applicant must go to the Magistrates Court to seek an extension or a permanent Family Violence Intervention Order. This is often a traumatic, time consuming and costly period for everyone, including victims and police.

A secondary but important benefit of this policy is an expected reduction in Magistrates Court mentions hearings and therefore freeing up court time to deal with other cases and thus help to reduce the number of remand prisoners.

Reforms of this type reforms have previously been called for by members of Victoria Police and The Police Association including submissions to the Family Violence Royal Commission.

 

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:

“This is a tough and swift approach to alleged offenders and it will save lives.

A government I lead will have a zero tolerance approach to family violence offenders.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police, Edward O’Donohue:

“When it comes to police dealing with family violence and protecting victims, there is often no time to lose. 

This change will mean a Senior Constable can issue an order requiring an alleged offender to immediately leave the scene and not return.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Georgie Crozier:

“Daniel Andrews and Labor have put forward a lot of ideas on dealing with family violence that centre around bureaucracy.

Simply creating a bigger bureaucracy is not going to keep people safe in their own homes.

This is a common sense and practical idea that will make a huge difference.”