Simone McGurk says new legislation to protect victims of domestic and family violence does not go far enough

Simone McGurk says new legislation to protect victims of domestic and family violence does not go far enough

LABOR Women and Children’s Interests spokeswoman Simone McGurk said new legislation to protect victims of domestic and family violence does not go far enough.

The Fremantle MLA reaffirmed WA Labor’s call to safeguard victims giving evidence in court.

Earlier this year, she said WA Labor introduced a Bill incorporating a framework to provide additional protections for witnesses.

She said the new law did not include her amendment to ensure witnesses in domestic violence cases gave their evidence remotely or by CCTV.

Ms McGurk said without such protections, a woman has to be in court with the person she is seeking protection against and in some cases face interrogation by the person she is trying to escape.

“No woman who has experienced family and domestic violence should be placed in a situation where they are in the same court room as someone who committed the acts of violence,” she said.

“The Government’s response to WA Labor’s amendments was disappointing.

“They said they were sympathetic and agreed these measures were important, but refused to support them.”

Domestic and family violence cases this year include 18 fatalities in WA, an increase compared to 2015 figures.

Ms McGurk said the Government’s 20 point ‘action plan’ released last year contained no extra funding, with the exception of a program in the Kimberley, where family domestic violence rates are up to eight times higher than the rest of the State.

WA Police attended 53,550 call outs to a domestic and family violence incident in 2015-16 and 22,182 children were present in these cases.