Michelle Lensink

Women's Safety Strategy

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for the Status of Women on the subject of the progress of the Women's Safety Strategy.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In June I asked a question in relation to a specific case that highlighted comments made by the Director of the Women's Legal Service concerning police officers not issuing domestic violence intervention orders unless defendants were present, leading to delays and undermining the intent of the Women's Safety Strategy. Is the minister aware whether that issue has been followed up with the Attorney-General, the Minister for Police or herself, and what progress has been made?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Tourism, Minister for the Status of Women) (14:25): I thank the honourable member for her most important question. Indeed, the rollout of a number of strategies we have put in place to reduce domestic violence has been most successful, and one of those has been reforms to legislation around sexual assaults, in particular. There has been the introduction of intervention orders and other legislative changes around that, as well as the rollout of our Family Safety Framework, which has also produced some very good results. Of course there is also our Don't Cross the Line campaign, which has worked on trying to change public attitudes around respectful relationships and which is particularly focused on young people.

Regarding the issue around intervention orders, there has been considerable in-depth discussion on that. I chair a chief executive officers group that is, in effect, a domestic violence task force, and one of the agenda items that has been considered at a number of the last meetings has been looking at the implementation of intervention orders. There is also an across-government group of other officers who are also looking at those issues, looking at the nuts and bolts of how it is working, how effective it is, where there are problems and where changes need to occur. So there are a number of different forums where this work is being closely monitored.

I am very pleased to say that at the last chief executive officers meeting I was at the preliminary figures were very promising. I do not think they have been formalised yet—it was a report given by police and, as I said, they are not formal figures as yet—but they were very promising. The number of intervention orders, or orders that have been put in place, has significantly increased since the implementation of the intervention orders. There has been a significant increase in orders, so there are certainly far more being applied.

The other preliminary statistic that was very interesting was that, although—and I am trying to make sure I get this right—there had been a slight increase in the number of breaches of intervention orders, it was in no way proportionate to the significantly large increase in the number of orders. The rate of breaches was certainly not increasing at the rate of the increase in implementing orders themselves.

What these figures are basically saying is that more people are accessing these orders and more of them are in place and that more women are safer. The other reports I have received back are, again, very promising. From right around the agencies, from the police, housing and education, the general feedback is that the system is working really well and that it has been a very positive reform in this state.

 

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