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Consider legislative reform to limit the necessity for victims bringing separate proceedings

Recommendation:
119
Status:
Implemented

Who is leading the change

  • Department of Justice and Community Safety

The Victorian Government consider any legislative reform that would limit as far as possible the necessity for individuals affected by family violence with proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to bring separate proceedings in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in connection with any tenancy related to the family violence.

  • As part of our approach, the Department of Justice and Community SafetyExternal Link will prepare detailed policy advice to the Attorney-General and Minister for Consumer Affairs on the legislative amendments that the Royal Commission asked the Government to consider. This advice will take into account the work of Consumer Affairs Victoria and its review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997External Link , the recent passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018External Link and the implementation of recommendations 60, 61 and 62.

  • In 2017, the Victorian Government implemented Recommendations 117 and 118 of the Royal Commission into Family ViolenceExternal Link to encourage the use of applications under the family violence provisions of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 (Vic)External Link (“RTA”) including:

    • an amendment to the Magistrates’ Court’s family violence intervention order application form to provide information about the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal’s (VCAT)External Link residential tenancy jurisdiction;
    • distributing VCAT’s ‘Renting and Intervention Orders’ brochure to all family violence Registrars across the State, to provide to family violence victims who appear in the Magistrates’ Court;
    • the training and education of family violence support workers and Victoria PoliceExternal Link , to encourage the use of family violence applications under the RTA; and
    • the issuing of a practice direction within the Magistrates’ Court to encourage magistrates hearing family violence intervention order applications to inquire whether parties are in rental accommodation, and to provide applicants with information about making an application to VCAT to have a respondent removed from a tenancy.

    Further reform has been undertaken to improve access to VCAT for tenancy related issues experienced by victim survivors of family violence. On 29 March 2021, reforms implementing Recommendation 116 came into effect via the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018External Link and Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021External Link to enable an application to be made by a protected person under a family violence safety notice, interim family violence intervention order, final family violence intervention order or a recognised non-local Domestic Violence order. Prior to these reforms, a victim survivor was required to be listed as a protected person on a final intervention order before an application could be made to VCAT, which resulted in few applications and delayed resolution of the tenancy issue in the protected person’s favour.

    With the above reforms completed, the Victorian Government has concluded that further legislative reform specifically in relation to recommendation 119 is not required at this time.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 28 September 2021

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