North East needs family violence court, legal aid

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Notice of motion

I give notice that, on the next day of meeting, I will move —

That this House —

(1) notes that the incidence of family violence in North East Victoria is higher than the state average, with incidences at Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla higher than the average by 36 per cent, 60 per cent and 98 per cent respectively;

(2) recognises that —

(a) the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence call for priority to be given to rural, regional and remote areas to improve access to services by victims and perpetrators of family violence;
(b) despite this recommendation there continues to be no specialist family violence court or Legal Aid office in Wodonga or Wangaratta to support North East Victoria;

(3) understands that —

(a) women experiencing domestic violence are 10 times more vulnerable to experiencing legal problems compared to the general community;
(b) the absence of a specialist family violence court and Legal Aid office in North East Victoria limits the resources that can be utilised by victim survivors and perpetrators of family violence;
(c) perpetrators of violence often engage with multiple legal services as a means of exercising coercive control to establish a conflict of interest that will deny their victim access to legal assistance; and

(4) calls on the Government to invest and commit to a specialist family violence court and Legal Aid office in North East Victoria.

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