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Review and amend bail processes in family violence matters


Who is leading the change

  • Department of Justice and Community Safety

The Victorian Government take the following action:

  • encourage bail decision makers to seek, and prosecutors to provide, information on relevant risks of family violence in relation to a bail application
  • whether by amendment to the Bail Act 1977 (Vic) or by other means, provide that before setting or amending bail conditions, a bail decision maker must consider:
    • whether there is a family violence safety notice or family violence intervention order in place. If so, the decision maker should ensure that the bail conditions are compatible with the notice or order conditions, unless to do so would pose a risk to the victim and/or protected person
    • in matters relating to family violence, whether there is a risk of family violence that could be managed by appropriate bail conditions or a family violence intervention order, or both
  • add an avoidance of doubt provision in section 4 of the Bail Act to state that an unacceptable risk of committing an offence or endangering the safety or welfare of the public may include an unacceptable risk of perpetrating family violence whilst on bail
  • enact legislation to ensure that, if a warrant for the arrest of an accused is issued, bail conditions continue to operate until the arrest warrant is executed and the person is brought before the court
  • In consultation with key stakeholders, the Department of Justice and Community Safety initially developed proposed legislative amendments to the Bail Act 1977 to address recommendation 80.

    However, after the Bourke Street tragedy, the Government asked former Supreme Court Judge and Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice the Honourable Paul Coghlan QC, to conduct a review of Victoria's bail system. The review was focused on legislative and practical reforms to manage risk and maximise community safety.

    Justice Mr Coghlan provided advice to the Government on legislative reform on 3 April 2017 and provided additional advice on other relevant matters on 1 May 2017. In his first report, Mr Coghlan recommended enacting the amendments which were initially developed to address recommendation 80.

  • The Bail Amendment (Stage One) Act 2017, which includes the amendments addressing recommendation 80, was introduced in the Parliament on 24 May 2017 and passed on 22 June 2017. The amendments implementing recommendation 80 commenced on 21 May 2018.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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