Thursday, August 5, 2021

New laws to help protect pets from domestic violence perpetrators

Domestic violence victim-survivors and their companion animals will have greater protections under proposed Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) reforms.

Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said animals are often used as an instrument of coercive control designed to torment victims.

“Perpetrators use animals to intimidate, retaliate against, and manipulate victims during the relationship and after separation, as punishment for leaving,” Mr Speakman said.

“Animal abuse in domestic violence settings can also delay victims leaving violent situations for fear of having their companion animals left unprotected with perpetrators.”

The Government’s Bill, to be introduced in NSW Parliament this week, will amend the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 and expand the conditions of ADVOs.

Currently, ADVOs have conditions that prohibit the defendant from harassing, stalking or intimidating the protected person, or from destroying or damaging their property or the property of anyone with whom they are in a domestic relationship.

The reforms will change the definition of ‘intimidation’ to indicate explicitly that harm to, or harm threatened to, animals is a form of intimidation. The Bill will also ensure that the protection of animals will be a standard condition in all ADVOs.

MUST READ  World-class equine training academy in scone

“This is an important step that will make it easier to respond to this vile form of abuse that seeks to terrorise victims and their much-loved animals,” Mr Speakman said.

While there are existing animal cruelty laws, this reform means if offences are committed in the context of a domestic relationship, with intent to coerce or control the victim, or cause intimidation or fear, they may be also charged as domestic violence offences.

Domestic Violence NSW Interim CEO Delia Donovan said the crucial changes announced today were welcomed by the organisation – NSW’s peak body for specialist domestic violence services.

“Feedback from frontline workers indicates that domestic violence victim-survivors often disclose that perpetrators have threatened to harm or kill animals,” Ms Donovan said.

“Protecting animals from perpetrators will therefore continue to improve the safety of people experiencing domestic and family violence across NSW.”

MUST READ  Parramatta community groups get $385,000 to support social causes
MUST READ  New South Wales SES to help QFES through hour of need

Further details of the Bill will be available on the NSW Parliament website, when it is introduced this week.

In addition, the NSW Government has invested $500,000 in a one-off grants program for refuges and animal shelters to support companion animals when victims flee violent homes.

Mr Speakman said refuges and animal shelters could begin applying to the Pets and Animal Welfare Support (PAWS) Grants Program today.

“These funds will enable refuges to become pet-friendly and to enhance the capacity of animal welfare services to provide temporary foster care for animals so women can leave violent homes without worrying their pet will be harmed,” Mr Speakman said.

RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman welcomed the PAWS Program and said their shelters stood ready to support vulnerable members of the community.

“The RSPCA is really pleased to play our part in ensuring victims of domestic violence can escape an abusive home and know that their companion animal will be very well cared for by our dedicated staff,” Mr Coleman said.

Latest news

India get Olympic medal after 41 yrs in Hockey, beat Germany 5-4 to get Bronze

A resolute Indian men's hockey team rewrote history as it claimed an Olympic medal after 41 years, defeating a plucky Germany 5-4 to win...

UK eases entry restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers from India

Fully vaccinated Indian passengers flying to the UK will no longer be put through a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine as the UK moved the...

Transgender Olympian Laurel Hubbard’s dead silence at reporter’s question

New Zealand’s transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard cemented her place in history on Monday evening, but it led to an awkward moment at a press...

SPC makes COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all staff

Related news

India get Olympic medal after 41 yrs in Hockey, beat Germany 5-4 to get Bronze

A resolute Indian men's hockey team rewrote history as it claimed an Olympic medal after 41 years, defeating a plucky Germany 5-4 to win...

UK eases entry restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers from India

Fully vaccinated Indian passengers flying to the UK will no longer be put through a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine as the UK moved the...

Transgender Olympian Laurel Hubbard’s dead silence at reporter’s question

New Zealand’s transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard cemented her place in history on Monday evening, but it led to an awkward moment at a press...

SPC makes COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all staff

In an Australian first, manufacturer SPC is making the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for all staff. It is the first non-health care company to make the...

Victoria records five new cases, Queensland 16

Victoria has recorded six new covid-19 infections today after more than 27,000 people came forward for testing. Three of the cases, including one which was reported...

Five Covid deaths in NSW; snap lockdown for Newcastle and Hunter region

The number of active cases in NSW continues to climb with 262 new infectious announced on Thursday morning, the highest number of daily infections...

Himachal makes negative RT-PCR report mandatory for tourists entering state

In view of the increasing Covid cases in the state, Himachal Pradesh has made negative RT-PCR report mandatory for tourists entering the state. The Disaster...

“Himmat Rakhna,” Parents had said before they died of Covid, daughter scores full marks in class X

Vanisha Pathak of Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal scored 100 in her English, Sanskrit, Science and Social Science Class X CBSE exams, and 97 in Mathematics...