Current focus areas
The Federation is continuing to work on effecting positive change to family violence policy. We are currently working on improving the operation of Safety Notices, preventing the re-victimisation of family violence victims through inappropriate prosecutions and preventing the inappropriate prosecution of fines against family violence victims.
The Federation and its member community legal centres have a long and proud history of effecting positive change to the way the justice system responds to family violence. Victoria’s landmark Family Violence Protection Act 2008 represents the culmination of years of work by community legal centres, domestic violence crisis organisations and victims/survivors, who have tirelessly advocated for making Victoria’s family violence protection laws more accessible and effective for victims.
Our current focus is on:
- working with the Women’s Legal Service and others to analyse the operation of police Safety Notices and to recommend relevant changes to improve their operation. These notices provide an after hours system under which police have power to issue the equivalent of an on the spot intervention order excluding an alleged perpetrator of violence from their home. There is no judicial supervision mechanism prior to the notice being issued, despite the fact that the Magistrates Court had been conducting an improved after-hours phone service immediately prior to the Safety Notice system being introduced;
- collaborating with partner agencies including Domestic Violence Victoria, to work with Victoria Police and the Office of Public Prosecutions to prevent the re-victimisation of family violence victims through inappropriate prosecutions, for example where a victim of violence lies to police under duress from a violent partner; and
- working with the PILCH Homeless Person’s Clinic to recommend reforms to prevent the inappropriate prosecution of fines against family violence victims – for example, where a victim of violence under duress from a violent partner accepts fines that were not incurred by them.
Contact Dr Chris Atmore for further information about our Family Violence work.