The Marshall Government has opened community consultation on proposed changes to domestic violence laws designed to reduce its incidence and impact in South Australia.
“The devastating consequences of domestic violence are experienced by too many families in our community and curbing its prevalence is a priority of the Marshall Liberal Government,” said Attorney General Vickie Chapman.
The legislation proposes:
- creating a new offence for strangulation;
- increasing penalties for repeated breaches of intervention orders;
- allowing video evidence recorded by police during the investigation to be used in court; and
- expanding the definition of domestic abuse to include more types of relationships such as siblings, carers and people related according to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
“In 2017 alone there were more than 7,700 reported occasions of domestic violence assault and sexual assault in South Australia,” said Ms Chapman.
“The level of domestic violence is completely unacceptable and we’ve proposed a number of changes designed to increase protections for people who have experienced abuse.
“Perpetrators frequently use their hands as a weapon of choice to choke, strangle or suffocate their partner, which we know often escalates to other violence and, tragically in some instances, murder.
“We’re looking at a new strangulation offence that carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment, without needing to prove an intent to kill.
“We also want to double the penalties for someone who repeatedly breaches an intervention order, and ensure that people can apply for an order in more situations.
“For instance, if a women is locked out of her own home by an abusive partner, we think that should be taken into consideration in an application for an intervention order.
“Community attitudes towards domestic violence have undergone fundamental change during the past 30 years and it’s important that the law reflects current community thinking.”
With the Bill to be introduced into Parliament later this year public feedback is invited until Friday 17 August via a survey and discussion board on the yourSAy consultation website: yourSAy.sa.gov.au.