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Investigate amendments to the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) to protect the safety of family violence victims

Recommendation:
112
Status:
Implemented

Who is leading the change

  • Department of Justice and Community Safety

The Department of Justice and Regulation investigate whether the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) should be amended so that, if a perpetrator of family violence incurs traffic fines while driving a car registered in the name of the victim, the victim is able to have the fines revoked by declaring:

  • they were not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offending
  • they are a victim of family violence—as evidenced by a statutory declaration, a copy of a family violence safety notice or family violence intervention order, or a support letter from a family violence worker, general practitioner or other appropriate professional
  • they are unable to identify the person in control of the vehicle at the time for safety reasons
  • This recommendation is closely related to the work for Recommendation 113, which involves addressing the circumstance where victim survivors offend as a consequence of family violence. As part of our approach, the Department of Justice and Regulation will work on these recommendations simultaneously to create a holistic approach for the justice system to interact with victim survivors with infringements in their name. Our work on this recommendation involves:

    • developing a case file management framework for the infringements system to deal with the intersection between the infringements and family violence systems
    • developing the legislative proposal and consultation paper
    • undertaking consultation with stakeholders
    • developing the legislation through the usual legislative drafting processes
  • This recommendation has been implemented with the introduction of the Fines Reform Amendment Bill 2017 into Parliament on 19 September 2017. The Fines Reform Amendment Bill will create a new, customised and standalone scheme to better support victim survivors within the infringements system. The scheme will be available to victim survivors who unfairly incur fines as the result of a perpetrator using their vehicle. It will also be available to victim survivors who incur fines as a result of their own offending that was substantially contributed to by their experience of family violence – such as fleeing unsafe circumstances.

    Currently, in order to apply to have their fines revoked, victim survivors are required to wrongly admit to committing the offence, or to nominate the driver which can place them at risk. The new scheme will allow eligible applicants to have the relevant fines withdrawn without naming the perpetrator, ensuring the debts do not contribute to the cycle of violence.

    The scheme will be administered by specialist trained staff, with applicants providing evidence including a statutory declaration, and other evidence such as a family violence intervention order or a family violence safety notice, to show that the infringement occurred in the circumstances of family violence. The family violence scheme implements recommendation 112 but also addresses the Royal Commission’s concerns underlying both recommendations 112 and 113.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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