Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

New national register for domestic and family violence orders

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis today welcomed the agreement of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General to implement a national scheme for domestic and family violence orders that will improve protection for victims of domestic violence.

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is meeting today in Wellington, New Zealand.

The proposed scheme, to be applied Australia-wide, will allow a domestic or family violence order (DVO) issued by a court in one jurisdiction to be automatically recognised in other jurisdictions.

“Under current arrangements, if a protected person wants to have their DVO recognised in another jurisdiction they have to ’register’ the order with a court in that jurisdiction – putting the onus entirely on the victim,” Mr McClelland said.

“Many people fleeing domestic violence may not be aware of the requirement to register the order if moving interstate.

“In addition, some protected people are too fearful for their safety to approach a court.

“Under the national scheme, victims of domestic violence will be able to travel or move to another State and Territory and be automatically protected by their DVO.

“Allowing court issued domestic and family violence orders to be valid and enforceable across State and Territory borders is an important improvement in the protection of victims of domestic violence.”

Ms Ellis said the national DVO scheme is a key commitment in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their children 2010 – 2022.

“The National Plan, launched last month, is a single unified strategy that brings together efforts across Governments to reduce violence against women.

“The Commonwealth and state and territory governments are committed to reducing domestic violence, and strengthening family violence laws is an important part of this priority,” Ms Ellis said.

“Alarmingly, one in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.  Almost one in five has experienced sexual violence.

“These figures are staggering and deeply disturbing.  The National Plan represents an end to the ad hoc and generalised solutions to this type of violence, and commits all governments to work together, to share our best practices and to make a real difference for Australian women.“

States and Territories will now work together to draft legislation to give effect to this agreement.