Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022


Domestic and Family Violence

In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ().5 July 2022).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): I have been advised:

At the time the question was asked, I had not been given a briefing in relation to the pro-arrest and pro-prosecution approaches to domestic violence that exist in Tasmania and the ACT. I am advised that this was a project of the former Attorney-General which was not ongoing at the time of the election. I have not received correspondence from the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Commissioner of Police on the issue.

I have since been given information on the matter. I understand that in South Australia, an alleged victim wanting the charges or an intervention order to be withdrawn does not necessarily mean they will be. Prosecuting authorities decide to continue or discontinue charges based on public interest and prospects of conviction. Even if an alleged victim is not willing to give evidence, a prosecution may continue if there is sufficient independent evidence and it is in the public interest. Both SAPOL and the DPP consider the safety of the victim when making these assessments.

It is a well-known fact that victims often withdraw support for a prosecution or intervention order application, and are unwilling to testify. The reasons for this are complex and multifaceted. Victim support is essential to empower victims to make decisions that are best for them in all of the circumstances.

For this reason, it was an election commitment of our government to invest an additional $2 million to improve support for victims—including additional funding for the Victim Support Service.