New support for family violence victims
New measures to help victims of family violence on provisional partner visas begin tomorrow, 24 November, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins MP, said today.
Mr Bowen said the changes would improve the assessment of family violence under migration law and provide for a wider range of evidence to support such claims.
“The Government recognises that the current process of obtaining statutory declarations with a set of technical requirements can be quite difficult for some women who have experienced violence,” Mr Bowen said.
“Under the new arrangements, we will streamline the evidence requirements claims for a visa on the basis of family violence to make the process easier and more accessible.”
For example, people who have suffered family violence who have already dealt with service providers or government agencies will be able to provide associated documents as part of the evidence requirements.
The changes to the Migration Act extend protections for people experiencing family violence and build on the amendments to the Family Law Act that commenced on 7 June 2012.
“Domestic and family violence is unacceptable. It’s important that women do not face obstacles in leaving violent relationships and receive appropriate support and assistance,” Ms Collins said.
“These measures will make a real difference to the lives of women on temporary visas who have experienced the trauma of family violence.”
To ensure the integrity of assessments, applicants will still need to provide a minimum standard of evidence, which was developed in consultation with more than 60 organisations including women’s refuge centres, family violence support organisations, immigration legal service providers, and state and territory government departments.
The changes complement the work the Government has undertaken to reduce and respond to violence against women, including our $86 million National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.
They also address the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) report and work on Family Violence and Commonwealth Law, and issues raised with Mr Bowen by the Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association.