My matter is for the Attorney-General.
Given it is about intervention orders, it does potentially overlap with other portfolios, so I would both understand and appreciate it if she chose to redirect some of it to another Minister on my behalf.
As I begin, I do want to thank Ms Symes, her Department and her staff for the considerable time and attention they recently afforded my office and victims of crime for discussions about intervention orders and related issues. That was genuinely appreciated by us.
With that said, the subjects that I want to raise this evening are ones that we haven’t quite covered in those discussions yet.
I also raise them in the context of the ongoing, high number of intervention orders that continue to be sought and granted, even since some
well-intentioned law and policy changes in 2010.
To me, many aspects of those changes were sound and sensible in principle. I say that especially given that two of their main aims were to prioritise the more urgent, serious cases requiring higher-level involvement and management, particularly from Victoria Police – and to siphon many of the less serious cases to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.
Unfortunately, in practice, many such problems have still continued to arise, though.
To that end, I am being alerted to a growing number of cases (including vexatious and revenge cases) in which an order has been granted even though there has been no documentation or evidence to support the claims of the person seeking the order.
Particularly in family violence related disputes, this can then trigger a chain reaction of other events, including the removal of the subject of the order from their home and/or their separation from their children even when there is not (or not yet) a proven need for such actions.
I acknowledge there are a range of incredibly difficult dilemmas that arise here. Those are tied, especially, to the principle of trying to err on the side of caution and minimising the possibility of escalation into even more serious disputes and/or violence.
<President>, the action I seek is that the Attorney outline the actions that are currently being taken by the Government and its justice portfolio agencies to try to improve the means of distinguishing between vexatious and serious applications for intervention orders.
I ask that because I’m absolutely certain that we all want to see less intervention orders weaponised for false claims – and increased priority, resourcing and attention devoted to those orders where genuine risk and danger exists.