Safe at home an integrated response to family violence the right to stay at home and be safe
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SAFE AT HOME An Integrated Response to Family Violence The Right to Stay at Home and be Safe. Liz Little – Principal Consultant Department of Justice August 2007. Safe at Home - where did it start?.

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SAFE AT HOME An Integrated Response to Family Violence The Right to Stay at Home and be Safe

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SAFE AT HOMEAn Integrated Response to Family ViolenceThe Right to Stay at Home and be Safe

Liz Little – Principal Consultant

Department of Justice

August 2007

Safe at Home - where did it start?

In 2003 the Tasmanian Attorney-General requested the development of a family violence framework which was:

  • pro arrest

  • pro prosecution

  • inclusive of perpetrator programs

  • recognized children as victims

  • based on the ‘what works’ literature

Safe at Home - Policy Principles

  • Family violence is a crime and where evidence exists that it has been committed arrest and prosecution will occur.

  • The victim should not placed in a position of determining the response of the justice system.

  • The safety of victims is paramount.

  • Wherever possible victims should have the choice about remaining in their own home.

Safe at Home - Policy Principles (cont’d)

  • The service response to family violence should be seamless and roles and responsibilities of each agency should be clear.

  • The Police are responsible for providing immediate intervention to secure the safety of the victim(s) and manage the risk that the offender might repeat or escalate their violence.

Safe at Home - the Foundations

Safe at Home is built around:

  • Managing the risk that an offender might repeat or escalate their violence

  • Identifying and implementing strategies that enhance the safety of the victim(s)

Safe at Home - the key elements

Safe at Home involves:

  • An ‘integrated’ response system

  • Family violence legislation that overarches the criminal and civil justice systems

The Family Violence Act 2004

  • Reinforces the criminal nature of family violence.

  • Mandates the management of both ‘risk’ and ‘safety’ through an integrated response.

  • Includes physical, psychological, emotional, and economic violence as criminal offences.

  • Recognises children as victims in their right.

Family Violence Act 2004 - Tenancy

17.Issue of replacement residential tenancy agreement

(1) If the person against whom an FVO is to be made is a tenant of residential premises occupied by an affected person, a court may make an order under section16 to –

(a) terminate the residential tenancy agreement; and

(b) establish a new residential tenancy agreement ("the replacement agreement") for the benefit of the affected person and any other party who was party to the terminated agreement other than the person against whom the FVO is made.

Family Violence Act 2004 - Tenancy

(2) A residential tenancy agreement established under subsection(1) is to have the same terms and conditions, other than the names of the tenants, as the agreement that was terminated under that subsection.

(3) Where an agreement terminated under this section is for a fixed term, the date of expiry of the replacement agreement is to be the same as that of the terminated agreement.

(4) Before an order is made under this section, any person having an interest in the residential premises is entitled to appear and be heard in relation to the matter.

Family Violence Act 2004 – FVO’s

16.Family violence orders

(1) A court may make an FVO if satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that –

(a) a person has committed family violence; and

(b) that person may again commit family violence.

(2) An FVO may include such conditions as the court considers are necessary or desirable to prevent the commission of family violence against an affected person or to protect any other person named in the order.

Family Violence Act 2004 – FVO’s

(3) Without limiting the nature of the conditions which may be included in an FVO, the court may require the person against whom the FVO is to be made to do one or more of the following:

(a) vacate premises, not enter premises, or only enter premises on certain conditions, whether or not that person has a legal or equitable interest in the premises;

(b) not possess firearms specified in the order or forfeit or dispose of any firearms in his or her possession.

Integrated Case Coordination

  • Operational police at incident administer the Risk Assessment Screening Tool RAST (high, medium, or low risk)

  • Safety Audit undertaken – VSRT manage high/medium risk cases – Safety Plan developed in consultation with victim

  • VSRT presents all new cases at weekly Integrated Case Coordination (ICC) meeting – Case Coordinator assigned and Review Cycle established

Integrated Case Coordination

  • ICC attended by VSRT; Police Prosecutions; Court Support and Liaison Service; Family Violence Counselling and Support Service; child protection; Special Needs Worker; and in some districts the Education Department Social Work Service

  • Cases are closed by consensus – Business Rules defined in case Coordination Manual

Safe at Home - Snapshot of Outcomes

  • Police attendance at family violence incidents has increased by 40%

  • Arrest occurs in approximately 63% of family violence cases

  • Criminal complaints lodged with the Court in relation to an ‘offence against a person’ have increased 32% since SaH was introduced – most if not all of these relate to FV matters.

Safe at Home - Snapshot of Outcomes

On 1 June 07 there were 24 prisoners (approx. 20%) on remand who were subject to a current FVO:

  • 9 for the breach of an FVO;

  • 5 for the breach of an FVO and assault;

  • 3 for assault;

  • 4 for offences such as rape or wounding;

  • 3 for assault and other offences (eg burglary).

Safe at Home - Snapshot of Outcomes

  • Prosecution outcomes for family violence assault cases are similar to those for general assault suggesting that family violence is no longer treated as a “lesser” crime (54% of FV defendants pleaded or were found guilty).

  • The number of family violence related protection orders issued per month has approximately trebled (FVO’s – 70 p.m.; PFVO’s – 130 p.m.)

  • There are approximately 50 applications per month to vary protection orders (FVO’s – 40; PFVO’s -10)

Safe at Home - Snapshot of Outcomes

  • Between Nov 05 and July 07 there were 7182 family violence cases dealt with under SaH of which 4476 (62%) were closed

  • 45% of family violence perpetrators are repeat offenders

  • 8% of family violence incidents involved the use or threat of use of weapons

  • 9% of family violence victims required medical treatment after the assault

  • Children are present at 38% of family violence incidents

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