The Queensland Government has strengthened its domestic violence laws to allow police to act more quickly to protect women and children fleeing violence and by allowing courts to extend Domestic Violence Orders for up to five years.

New laws passed by Parliament yesterday will require magistrates to consider exercising their power to modify existing family court orders and provide better protection for vulnerable children.

The changes included a requirement for magistrates to issue DVOs for a minimum of five years, unless there are reasons for a shorter order.

Courts will also be required to consider if additional conditions need to be included and determine the appropriate duration of a protection order based on the protection that a victim and their family needs.

Changes include:

  • Expand Police Protection Notices to simplify the process for police so they can act to protect a victim of domestic violence immediately, including for the first time ever, children;
  • Clarifying a court may make a DVO when a victim has been threatened or has fears for their safety or wellbeing;
  • Provide for the future implementation of automatic recognition of DVOs across Australia under a National Domestic Violence Order Scheme;
  • Courts will consider if more tailored conditions need to be included in a DVO;
  • Protection orders will remain in place for five years unless the court is satisfied there are reasons for a shorter order to be made;
  • Courts will need to consider family law orders when making a DVO to minimise inconsistencies between the orders and may use their powers to modify family law orders if necessary;
  • A comprehensive information sharing framework to ensure agencies providing specialist domestic and family violence services and prescribed entities can share information to assess and manage risk.

The new laws continue the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence report Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic Violence in Queensland.

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