Victoria Police, minister apologise to domestic violence victim after ‘appalling’ privacy breach

Victoria Police has apologised to a woman who suffered domestic abuse at the hands of a serving officer, admitting the case was mishandled and that information about her plans to escape her attacker was wrongly shared around a Melbourne police station.

It comes as new figures released by Victoria Police have shown 41 officers were charged with family violence offences in 2018 and 2019.

Source: Victoria Police, minister apologise to domestic violence victim after ‘appalling’ privacy breach – ABC News

PUT KIDS SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW

The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility (ESPR) in family law shifts the focus of decision makers away from child safety and the best interests of children. With up to 85% of family court matters involving domestic and family violence, presuming parents should have contact puts children in danger.The current system places victims of violence on the backfoot in court, mediation and in their negotiations with the violent perpetrator. The legislation is complicated, easily misunderstood and its links to equal time incentivise violent perpetrators to pursue their “rights” in the court and other processes putting kids at risk. It is also very complex, making trials and legal processes longer and more expensive. Kids safety should always come first in family law. Show your support now for the removal of the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in the Family Law Act.

Source: PUT KIDS SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW | PUT KIDS SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW

‘He really wanted to burn me alive’: Rugby star against domestic violence

A horrifying video of rugby star and boxer Debbie Kaore being beaten with a hot iron has been met with global disgust, as more Australian women report domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown.

A new study released by Monash University has revealed an increasing number of Victorian women have been reporting domestic violence during the global health crisis.

More than half of the respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had contributed to an increase in the frequency and severity of violence against women.

Nearly half of the practitioners (42 per cent) also said the pandemic had resulted in more women reporting family violence for the first time.

In many cases, perpetrators were using social distancing restrictions aimed at limiting the virus’s spread as an excuse to limit women’s movements.

Source: ‘He really wanted to burn me alive’: Rugby star against domestic violence

Family Court report writer and former Big Brother psychologist, Bob Montgomery, pleads guilty to child sex abuse

A celebrity psychologist — who was used by the Family Court as an expert in custody disputes — has admitted to sexually abusing children decades ago, a revelation that law experts say opens the door for some custody rulings to be quashed.

He was charged by NSW police in January 2019.

Before that he acted in Family Court cases as a family report writer or single expert witness, a role that can include assessing the credibility of child sex abuse allegations in custody disputes.

The Montgomery scandal again throws a spotlight on the powerful role of single expert witnesses in the Family Court, which came under scrutiny in an Australian Law Reform Commission report calling for sweeping changes to the system.

Source: Family Court report writer and former Big Brother psychologist, Bob Montgomery, pleads guilty to child sex abuse – ABC News

How NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) facilitates financial abuse

In NSW, since December 2008, it has not been possible to register a motor vehicle in joint names. It would seem that this change in policy was made to streamline the issuing and enforcement of fines under the NSW road rules. Regrettably, the government appears not to have considered the impact this change would have on the safety of women and children affected by domestic violence in NSW – ill-thought-out bureaucratic convenience prevailed.

This is consistent with the general reluctance to prioritise women and children’s safety and wellbeing over property ownership, as manifest in the unwillingness to seek orders excluding violent men from homes to which they have legal title.

Taking and selling the car used by a female partner is just one of many strategies a male partner may use to perpetrate financial abuse and exercise control in a domestic violence situation. In order to provide the necessary protection for women in these situations and ensure two signatures are required for the sale of a jointly owned car, it is essential that the NSW government reinstate the option of registering motor vehicles in joint names, or at very least enable a second interest in a vehicle to be noted.

Source: How NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) facilitates financial abuse – Australian Lawyers Alliance

Landmark ruling sees employer deemed liable for an employee killed by her partner while working from home

A landmark court ruling has seen an employer deemed liable for an employee who was killed by her partner while working from home in NSW.

According to Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers, the evidence showed that Carroll was on-call from about 7.30am at home, her bedroom contained work files, she worked throughout the house and was expected to answer phone calls. She was performing employment related duties or on-call at the time she was killed.

Her de facto partner had paranoid delusions that related to the way Carroll performed her work duties at home. The evidence demonstrated a direct connection between his delusions, Carroll’s employment, and that she was killed by him.

This tragic case of domestic and family violence highlights that employers must consider much more than simple ergonomics when they have employees working from home.

Source: Landmark ruling sees employer deemed liable for an employee killed by her partner while working from home

Killer without a conviction: Fight to change how mental illness is judged

Imagine dating someone who, unbeknownst to you, had served time in jail for murder, but nothing showed up on a criminal record check.

Take NSW man Scott Settree.

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail for possessing a firearm.

But he received no criminal conviction for shooting his mum and dad dead.

The court accepted he committed the crime but because of his mental illness, he was not found legally responsible for his actions, and therefore no conviction was recorded against his name.

He can, therefore, also seek permission to legally change his name.

Source: Killer without a conviction: Fight to change how mental illness is judged

New domestic violence inquiry to probe national failures in keeping victims safe

A new parliamentary inquiry into domestic violence will give survivors a fresh opportunity to “have their voices heard” on Australia’s scourge of abuse, with advocates cautiously optimistic it will achieve more than previous probes.

Now, the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has been tasked with reporting on measures to prevent all forms of violence against women and their children, including coercive control, and the efficacy of perpetrator intervention programs, among other issues.

Source: New domestic violence inquiry to probe national failures in keeping victims safe – ABC News

‘Many people will just give up’: crime victims forced to gather own evidence under reform

Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse will be forced to assemble their own evidence of harm suffered under proposed changes to victims’ compensation claims, prompting fears many will relive their trauma as a result.

Source: ‘Many people will just give up’: crime victims forced to gather own evidence under reform

‘Unforgiveable’: Hannah Clarke inquiry ends early, without hearings

A senate inquiry into domestic violence, set up days after a Brisbane mother and her three children were burned to death, has wrapped up three months early, without taking submissions or holding public hearings.

The inquiry was given wide scope to examine the issue of family violence, including the implementation of previous recommendations, the adequacy of current measures and how the government could address cultural change.

But in its final report, tabled on Tuesday, the committee said it “formed the view that conducting another lengthy, broad-ranging public inquiry into domestic and family violence in Australia at this time would be of limited value”.

Source: ‘Unforgiveable’: Hannah Clarke inquiry ends early, without hearings