Some of the domestic violence amendments under the Statutes Amendment (Domestic Violence) Act 2018 have now commenced. The act makes a number of changes to domestic violence provisions, most of which commenced on 31 January 2019.
Amendments that commenced on 31 January 2019 include:
- additions to the definition of ‘abuse’ in s 8 of the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 to include forcing a person to marry another person, preventing a person from entering the person’s place of residence and taking an invasive image (within the meaning of Part 5A of the Summary Offences Act 1953) of a person and threatening to distribute the image without the person’s consent;
- increased penalties for breaching an intervention order, where a breach is a ‘second or subsequent’ offence, which generally means offences within 5 years of each other, AND the breach involves physical violence or the threat of it, then the maximum penalty is $20,000 and 4 years imprisonment (whereas the maximum penalty for a first offence is $1250 and 2 years imprisonment);
- s 10A(d) of the Bail Act 1985 has been amended to classify certain domestic violence offences as ‘aggravated offences’ in relation to which there is a presumption against bail;
- new s 20A—Choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic setting has been added to the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935. This offence provides that a person who is, or has been, in a relationship with another person and chokes, suffocates or strangles that other person, without that other person’s consent, is guilty of an offence, the maximum penalty for which is imprisonment for 7 years.
Amendments yet to commence include:
- where police are seeking to urgently vary an existing final order the court may now conduct a preliminary hearing in the absence of the defendant and may take evidence by telephone or such other means as the court determines appropriate and the rules of court allow;
- where an Intervention order is sought by police, the applicant and anyone else for whose protection the order is sought, may give their evidence in the proceedings by recording and may only be cross-examined about that evidence if the court permits it.
These provisions are suspended until proclaimed, commencing on 6 December 2020 at the latest.
The commentaries in the By Lawyers Criminal SA and Intervention Orders SA guides have been updated accordingly.