I welcome changes to the Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) Scheme introduced into Parliament this week. I am proud the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government treats domestic violence like the crime it is and will implement all 17 recommendations of the statutory review of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007.
These changes are vital to protect domestic violence victims and their families. This builds on the NSW Government’s reputation as a national leader in the protection of domestic violence victims. Crimes categorized as ‘domestic violence offences’ will now also include any and all NSW or Commonwealth criminal offence where the defendant intends to coerce, control or cause fear in the victim, like using a mobile service to menace, harass or cause offence.
The law will also ensure ADVOs are written in plain English and spell out examples of the consequences of breaches to improve information for perpetrators and victims. We know victims are often reluctant to come forward because they are afraid of their partner, so the NSW Government is making it easier for them to get an ADVO without having to prove a fear of violence in court. This means magistrates will be able to hear final applications for ADVOs even if the victim doesn’t appear in court and police will be notified of any application to change or revoke an ADVO.
Perpetrators may threaten the victim’s new partner, which is why we are also ensuring a victim’s current partner is included in the legal definition of a domestic relationship, so everyone affected by domestic violence has the legal protection of an ADVO if they are targeted.
The legislation will also enshrine in law that self-represented defendants cannot personally cross-examine child witnesses during ADVO applications, and that a person cannot apply for an ADVO to be revoked after it has expired.
NSW leads the nation as the first jurisdiction to introduce model laws to recognise and enforce domestic violence orders across the country, to better protect victims and hold perpetrators to account, regardless of where they live.