Paul Spooner, Labor candidate for Ballina
The level of breaches in AVO orders on the north coast is disturbing and warrants immediate attention. Luke Foley, NSW Labor leader, has confirmed that if elected Labor will ensure three key reforms to address domestic violence.
Firstly, Labor will untangle the mess left for women’s refuges seen with the Going Home Staying Home cutbacks. Shelters should not have funding cuts.
Secondly, Labor will overhaul penalties. It’s shameful that NSW laws for breaching domestic violence orders are the nation’s weakest. Only 12 per cent of people receive jail time and that’s for an average of four months. The most common penalty is a bond without supervision, little more than a slap on the wrist.
Thirdly, Labor will create specialist sexual assault and domestic violence courts. For domestic violence survivors, the benefits are clear. Cases will be handled more efficiently and in a timely manner.
These reforms will mean more successful prosecutions, convictions and sentencing. Domestic violence is an important community issue that needs to be taken seriously with a fresh approach.