26 September 2023

Violence victims to fight back online

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Victims of family and domestic violence can now apply for restraining orders online under new laws developed by the Attorney General’s Department.

The change is one of a raft of legislative reforms to help protect victims at a time of increased risk because of isolation from the community.

Attorney General, John Quigley said people seeking the protection of restraining orders had previously been required to visit a court registry to apply.

“Now it can be done online through registered legal services which provide family violence assistance,” Mr Quigley said.

“These include Legal Aid WA, Aboriginal Family Law Services and community legal centres.”

He said anybody could contact the Agencies by phone, or in person, and be assisted with the lodgement of their restraining order application.

“People could still go directly to a court to lodge an application if they wished,” he said.

“After the application has been lodged, the applicant will be given a time to attend a court hearing to seek an interim order,” Mr Quigley said.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, people who are unable to attend court because they are immune-compromised or in quarantine can contact the Magistrates Court to make an application to the Court to request orders to appear by alternative means.”

Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, Simone McGurk said there had been an urgent need for this measure because of COVID-19 restrictions keeping people at home, and the associated risks around perpetrators exploiting the situation to control and coerce victims.

“While this initiative has been brought forward to help victims through the current crisis, it will be a permanent service for applicants,” Ms McGurk said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has announced that support services for people experiencing family and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic in Western Australia will be boosted by more than $3 million.

The funding is to help to ensure services can continue to focus on the immediate safety needs of people experiencing family and domestic violence.

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