Jessica Longbottom at ABC News reports:
Victoria Police will be given new powers to issue intervention orders on the spot in domestic violence situations, if a Liberal Coalition government is elected in November.
Currently, when police respond to a family violence call, they only have power to issue a family violence safety notice which provides immediate, but temporary, protection while the victim waits for a court to issue a more permanent intervention order.
The proposed changes would allow police at the rank of Senior Constable or above, with more than four years of experience, to issue an indefinite family violence safety notice when they are called to a dispute.
The effect would be the same as a court-ordered intervention order.
The matter would only go to court if one of the parties wanted to challenge the order.
“It’s about making the system less traumatic for victims of crime and giving police the powers they need to serve these notices for longer periods of time,” said the Opposition’s police spokesman, Edward O’Donohue.
However, several domestic violence groups have expressed concerns about the plan.
Joanna Fletcher, the chief executive officer of the Women’s Legal Service Victoria, said police weren’t ready to take on the power.
Commissioner Ashton has previously said family violence was the largest single issue police deal with — taking up a staggering 40 per cent of police work.
Mr Ashton said in the vast majority of cases, intervention orders aren’t contested in court, and victims would be better served not being required to attend court.