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The Director of Public Prosecutions to approve prosecutions of victims of family violence

Recommendation:
030
Status:
Implemented

Who is leading the change

  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Justice and Community Safety

The Victorian Government:

a) amend section 327 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) to require the Director of Public Prosecutions to approve a prosecution for the offence in cases where the alleged offender is a victim of family violence; and

b) consider legislative amendments to reconcile section 327 of the Crimes Act and section 493 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic).

  • This recommendation is being considered in 2& parts.

    The first, part (a), outlines the requirement for the Director of Public Prosecutions to approve a prosecution for the offence of failing to disclose a sexual offence committed against a child under the age of 16 years.

    As part of our approach, the Department of Justice and Community Safety developed legislative amendments to address Recommendations 22, 30(a), 57, 72, 75, 76, 78, 132, 138 and 150 for inclusion in the Family Violence Protection Amendment Bill 2017.

    Stakeholders have been consulted, including seeking feedback on the draft Bill to identify any outstanding technical or policy issues.

    Stakeholders consulted during this process included representatives across government and non-government organisations within the specialist family violence, justice, children and families, and legal services sectors, as well as various committees. For example, the Chief Magistrate’s Family Violence Taskforce, the Family Violence Steering Committee, the Judicial Advisory Group on Family Violence, the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council, and the LGBTI Justice Working Group.

    The Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services considered how part (b) of this recommendation can be addressed. Work on part (b) has involved:

    • Examining the offences in section 327 of the Crimes Act 1958 and section 493 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
    • Considering possible options for legislative reform
    • Considering the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In light of upcoming reforms in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, further consideration of this recommendation is required
  • The Family Violence Protection Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced into Parliament on 7 March 2017 and passed on 10 May 2017.

    The amendments implementing recommendation 30(a) came into effect on 16 November 2017.

    Recommendation 30(b) is relevant to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Criminal Justice Report, which made recommendations in relation to the same subject matter. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse considered both offences in its Criminal Justice Report released on 14 August 2017. Among other things, it recommended the introduction of a failure to report offence and an offence that is similar to the failure to protect offence in section 49C of the Crimes Act 1958. The Department is considering how best to progress the relevant recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Recommendation 30(b) will be considered in this context.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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