Intervention orders (prevention of abuse) amendment bill

In Parliament - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (12:43:03): I rise to speak in support of this bill—but, no, I am not the lead speaker on it. This bill seeks to amend the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 and other related amendments. The act provides for intervention orders commonly known as DVOs. I would like to preface my remarks on the bill by saying that I believe that domestic violence is a terrible blight on our society and that I live in hope that one day we can eradicate it. 2015 has been a year in which domestic violence has been front and centre of our national agenda.

Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, is the human face of someone who has suffered horrific domestic violence. The murder of Rosie's son Luke at a suburban cricket ground last year shocked Australia into action. In the words of our Prime Minister, Rosie Batty is someone 'who faced an unimaginable tragedy and has become an inspirational campaigner against domestic violence'. I would also add that Rosie Batty has been a strong voice and an excellent advocate for pushing Australia to eradicate domestic violence.The domestic violence figures are frightening and very concerning, and some of these figures can be referred to in my contribution to this house in regards to Australian National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day. Recent statistics tell us that on average a woman is murdered at least every week in this country and another is hospitalised every three hours at the hands of domestic violence. At the moment, a woman being abused will suffer 35 assaults, on average, from a partner before she goes to the police to report that abuse.

I would also like to add that this act acknowledges that intervention orders extend further than just violent physical abuse or controlling behaviour. Intervention orders can be made to protect victims from psychological harm as well as non-consensual denials of financial, social or personal autonomy.

This bill aims to strengthen our intervention order framework by closing some legal loopholes. This bill is as a consequence of the 2004 decision of Justice Peek in the Supreme Court case of Police v Siaosi. In the Siaosi case, the decision of Justice Peek found the term 'in the vicinity' was not within the powers conferred in this act, and since then the system has been in what one may call a bit of legal limbo. Justice Peek concluded that it was a case of 'elementary fairness to a person the subject of an intervention order' but the terms are 'specific and certain'. SAPOL and the chief magistrate have asked for these amendments so that intervention orders can be issued, by both the court and the police, that contain the term 'in the vicinity of'. This bill removes any ambiguity from previous legislation by prohibiting a person from being on or in the vicinity of a certain premises or locality. In particular, this bill contains a transitional provision in schedule 1 of the act to validate any existing intervention orders, which is very important.

I welcome that section 31 of the act is being amended by this bill to give courts the power to compel perpetrators of domestic violence to pay for their own intervention programs. Currently intervention programs are fully funded by the state. We need to change communities' attitudes that too often place responsibility on government for the actions of others. We see this time and time again, and I am glad that in this amended legislation we are seeing the onus being put back on perpetrators and individuals to be responsible for their actions. Ultimately, it is individuals who are responsible for their actions and behaviours and not government.

This bill will give courts the power to order that a defendant, once convicted of a breach of an intervention order involving physical violence or threat of physical violence, make a payment toward the cost of any treatment program as ordered as a term of their intervention order. As a parliament, we must encourage wrongdoers to take responsibility for their own actions, and this includes not only the physical, mental and emotional toll taken on the victims of their crimes but also the financial consequences of their crimes on society.

The amendment will also function as a deterrent to no-shows. If a perpetrator does not show up to an intervention program then the money will be coming out of their pocket, not the pocket of South Australian taxpayers, once again putting the emphasis on the individual being responsible for their own behaviour. This move should deter those who avoid programs in place to assist them reform, and indeed their reformation as a person. The amendment has been drafted so that courts will provide a warning that if the person subject to an intervention order breaches it they will be liable to pay for the rehabilitation program.

Currently, domestic violence intervention programs are run only in metropolitan Adelaide. The programs are run by providers such as Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services (OARS) and the Kornar Winmil Yunti Indigenous service. The extra funds raised by this amendment will allow these programs to be rolled out into our regional areas as well, which I fully support. This is a welcome move, as rehabilitation and education are important tools in domestic violence prevention. This government needs to do more than just talk the talk on this very important issue.

A logical change to section 18(7) of the act is contained in this bill. At the moment a person who has a police interim intervention order out against them is required to notify the Commissioner of Police of their change of address, but there was no legal consequence if they did not. This bill rectifies that problem. The bill will assist the police in locating and prosecuting those who breach their intervention order.

This bill will help move SAPOL, the courts, and other relevant public sector agencies into the 21st century by permitting 'prescribed details' of an order being sent electronically as well. Paper-based processes, which are full of duplication, easily cost this state tens of millions of dollars each year, and the more services that can be moved online within government the better in terms of streamlining our processes. There are a lot of very worthy amendments to this bill, and I look forward to its passage through this house.