Cabinet has given its approval for amendments to be made to the Domestic Violence Act that will serve to strengthen the law.
This was disclosed by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, during a statement to the House of Representatives on April 20.
She said among the legislative changes is the inclusion of a definition of the term domestic violence in the Act.
“The definition will make clear that domestic violence is not only physical, but also psychological, emotional and sexual and may occur in situations where intimate images are exposed to inflict harm on a person, among other situations,” Ms. Grange said.
She further informed that the proposed amendments will expand the category of people who will be allowed to apply for protection orders on behalf of an abused person.
“We will also expand the conduct or behaviours that the court may prohibit the respondent from engaging in under a protection order. This will include a prohibition on taking possession of or damaging a property that the victim may have an interest in, as well as directing the perpetrator to pay compensation for monetary loss incurred by the victim, as a direct result of conduct that amounted to domestic violence, and also directing the perpetrator to relinquish firearm licence, firearms or other weapons to the police and other orders that the court may deem appropriate,” Ms. Grange explained.
The Minister also informed that amendments will be made to the Act to widen the threshold to be met in obtaining protection orders from the court, so as to give greater protection to those who need the orders to keep abusers away.
We will increase the penalty for breach of a protection order. The current penalty is $10,000. We want to see the penalty moved to $1 million or imprisonment for at least one year. I believe these amendments will go a far way in strengthening the law,” Ms. Grange said.