New domestic violence laws went into effect on November 2 in Victoria, Australia. The updated family violence laws will allow law enforcement to issue emergency protective orders twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. These orders, known in Victoria as family violence safety notices, will remain in effect for five working days. Previously, police could only issue emergency protective orders outside of court working hours, forcing victims to seek court intervention at other times.
Additionally, victims can now speak openly to the media and others if an abuser violates a protective order. Victorian authorities hope the new laws will “empower” victims and raise greater public awareness of domestic violence. Victoria enacted the laws after an official inquiry showed existing protective measures did not adequately protect victims from violence or death.
Australian women’s groups welcomed the new laws, but said the government should allocate more resources for victim services and support.
Compiled from: New domestic violence laws to aid victims, says Attorney-General, The Age Victoria (November 2, 2014); Davey, Melissa, Victoria Toughens Domestic Violence Laws, The Guardian (November 2, 2014).