Care and Protection for all.
The current Domestic Violence policy framework is broken and defective. It does not protect those it was designed to protect and is easily abused by anyone who wish to use the system to cause harm to others.
Its also often puts victims at significantly increased risks to their personal safety just by applying for an AVO or DVO, falsely thinking they will be protected by a useless piece of paper.
I’m appalled by the current ineffective policies in this area over many years by successive labor/green and liberal ACT Governments. It’s a patchwork of measures, which in the end of the day, when the rubber hits the road, does not protect those who need protecting.
Recent tragic events clearly prove this important protection process is defective and simply failing to look after those that need protecting. How can waving a piece of paper protect you from harm…?
Under the current system anyone can apply for an AVO or DVO and with little to no valid reason and no evidence or proof required to be submitted. Those on the receiving end often have to wait months before they get their chance to respond and often after considerable damage has been done to an innocent party, the applicant withdraws, on or just before the court hearing date.
Its not hard to see that front line services get a little immune after seeing so many non-genuine cases. This detracts heavily against those cases of genuine need. Its my view that the system is clogged with to many malicious applications and this is putting those in real need of protection at increased risk.
I would like to see the domestic violence policy frame work completely redesigned in order to do what its intended to do and not put anyone at any further risk of abuse.
Canberra can and should be a world leader in tackling this problem.
In order to do this I would propose the following two pronged approach.
1. Restore faith and integrity in this process.
2. Properly protect those at risk from harm.
In order for this system to be taken seriously and to weed out false applications, so its imperative that there be stiff penalties in place for false and malicious claims and applications. We can't allow this system to be misused by those seeking to cause harm and abuse to others.
That should someone be found to have made a false claim against another person or persons they be held accountable for not only any direct or indirect costs to the other party or parties, but that there be compensation and penalties imposed.
All applications for domestic violence protection must be professionally assessed in a similar way to a hospital triage sytem, against a risk assessment matrix specifically designed to ensure this system works. Not by some fresh out of school want to be lawyer working court files for Legal Aide.
That this assessment will then give a clear determination of a persons risk and if found to be in high risk they are immediately given high level priority protection, which includes being given a personal protection (panic) alert button, which if activated will immediately send out a police rapid response unit to the persons GPS location.
This means that this person does not have to go through some call Centre with lengthy explanations of their location or situation to some operator and that the details of their protection matter is already in the system.
There should be specially trained domestic violence units within the police to handle DV cases and ensure persons are protected 24-7.
The penalties for those found to have committed domestic violence must also be increased and I believe our community expects much tougher sentences for these crimes.
Their also needs to be a much better non-gendered long term public education strategy put into place to breed abusers out of the our society.