New do­mes­tic vi­o­lence Bill closer


Ellenbrook Advocate - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica War­riner

THOU­SANDS of cases of fam­ily vi­o­lence are in the spot­light as a new Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Bill moves one step closer to be­com­ing law.

The Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Or­ders (Na­tional Recog­ni­tion) Bill has just passed the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly and will en­able WA to par­tic­i­pate in a na­tional scheme to recog­nise do­mes­tic vi­o­lence re­strain­ing or­ders across the coun­try, no mat­ter what state or ter­ri­tory they have been taken out in.

Po­lice fig­ures show that from 2015-16, more than 53,000 cases of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence were re­ported in WA, and White Rib­bon statis­tics es­ti­mate that one woman is killed ev­ery week by a cur­rent or for­mer part­ner.

White Rib­bon also es­ti­mates that one in four chil­dren are ex­posed to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

State MP Tony Buti has been a long-time ad­vo­cate on the is­sue, and said it’s time for WA to come to the party for the new na­tional recog­ni­tion scheme.

“Women and chil­dren who have been sub­jected to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence are trau­ma­tised,” he said. “A na­tional recog­ni­tion scheme avoids re-trau­ma­tis­ing the sit­u­a­tion, and re­duces the abil­ity for a per­pe­tra­tor to know the where­abouts of the vic­tim.”

Amanda Pa­ton, clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist and di­rec­tor of ther­a­peu­tic ser­vices at the Ge­orge Jones Child Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre, said while leg­is­la­tion should go fur­ther, the new Bill was a step in the right di­rec­tion.

“We’ve had cases where this type of scheme would work, [where some­one has] had re­strain­ing or­ders in other states or ter­ri­to­ries, come over to WA and they’ve not held, or they thought the re­strain­ing or­der ap­plied when it didn’t,” she said.

“A lot of fam­i­lies that we’ve worked with are a bit dis­heart­ened by the sys­tem.

“If they’ve found out they have to ap­ply all over again, it’s al­most like be­ing re-trau­ma­tised, be­cause you have to go through it all over again. For a lot of fam­i­lies, it’s a big enough step to ac­tu­ally take to ac­knowl­edge, yes my part­ner is hurt­ing us, he’s hurt­ing me, he’s hurt­ing the fam­ily.”

The Ge­orge Jones Child Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre is run by Park­erville Chil­dren and Youth Care, and ser­vices fam­i­lies fac­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence all through the south-east metro cor­ri­dor.

Ms Pa­ton said one of the big­gest things peo­ple can do to com­bat fam­ily vi­o­lence is ac­knowl­edge what’s go­ing on.

“I think a lot of peo­ple... want to stick their heads in the sand, they want to think it hap­pens over there, that it couldn’t pos­si­bly be hap­pen­ing in their neigh­bour­hood.

“Even the most af­flu­ent, high­pro­file and pretty neigh­bour­hoods you can find, they all have child abuse and fam­ily vi­o­lence lurk­ing be­hind the scenes.

“You can’t change it un­til you ac­knowl­edge it’s an is­sue we all need to deal with,” she said.

The State Gov­ern­ment is plan­ning a new metropolitan refuge and new re­gional refuge, along with one-stop hubs for women to seek help when fac­ing fam­ily vi­o­lence.

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