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Revenge porn – links to family violence laws

By October 19, 2015No Comments

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Amanda Banks | Legal Affairs Editor with the West Australian, reports on November 18, 2015

Revenge porn and cyberstalking could become grounds for imposing a new type of restraining order under an overhaul of family violence laws.

Courts may also be forced to order mandatory counselling for perpetrators as a term of the family violence restraining orders and have restrictions put on the discretion not to grant the orders.

The changes are being investigated as part of the Government’s plan to set up a third, separate category of restraining orders specifically to protect victims of domestic violence.

The proposal for the new type of restraining orders, announced by Attorney-General Michael Mischin in March, is a key part of the Government’s response to a WA Law Reform Commission report into domestic and family violence laws.

A consultation paper on the proposal was distributed to stakeholders including WA Police, the Chief Magistrate and government and community-based family violence support services this week.

The paper canvasses a “more modern” definition of family violence, which would define the grounds of granting the new restraining orders and focus on behaviour intended to intimidate, control or coerce victims.

One of the proposals would adopt a definition similar to that in the Family Law Act, which could add revenge porn, cyber- stalking and exposing a child to family violence as the types of behaviour that constitute family violence. The consultation paper also suggests that victims flouting the family violence restraining orders could become a mitigating factor in the sentencing of those who breach the orders.

Victims ignoring the orders could also provide a ground for a person subject to an order to apply to have it cancelled or varied.

The paper also seeks feedback on removing the existing two-year limit on the length of restraining orders for family violence matters.

It suggests that failing to attend mandatory counselling, which could only be a term of an order when a program was available and attendance was reasonably practicable, could be made an offence.

Mr Mischin said he expected that laws creating the family violence orders would be introduced in State Parliament this year.

The overhaul of the laws had also been considered alongside the recent integration of dedicated family violence courts back into the mainstream system.

Full article: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/29839477/move-against-revenge-porn/

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