26 September 2023

FVR law changes to protect families

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Planned changes to the law to protect the rights of survivors of domestic and family violence better have been announced by the Attorney-General and introduced into Parliament.

Aimed at reforming the State’s anti-discrimination laws, the proposed changes would see the recipients of domestic abuse joining those discriminated due to their sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, disability and age.

According to Attorney-General, Kyam Maher, the Bill will prohibit discrimination on the basis that someone is, or has been, subject to domestic abuse and would protect them and their families in their public lives, which includes employment, education or when trying to access services or accommodation.

Mr Maher said that under the reforms, victim-survivors of domestic violence could take action if they were discriminated against by employers, prospective landlords and others.

“The Commissioner for Equal Opportunity would have the power to investigate complaints of discrimination, and claims could be determined by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal if not settled between the parties,” Mr Maher said.

“It’s a way of helping and supporting victim-survivors of domestic violence at a time when they need it the most,” he said

Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Katrine Hildyard welcomed the move saying that when women experienced domestic violence it was ‘crucial’ that their connection to their workplace be secure and that they are enabled to access the support they needed.

“Governments should do everything they can to help prevent and end domestic violence and support and empower those who experience it,” Ms Hildyard said.

Mr Maher said the discriminatory behaviours set to be prohibited would include criticising or otherwise treating an employee poorly because they took time off on domestic violence leave, and refusing to rent a property to someone because they are protected under an intervention order or have been residing in domestic violence crisis accommodation.

“The ACT is the only other jurisdiction with similar legislation,” Mr Maher said.

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