- Prevent gaps in protection. An interim protection order (IPO) protects survivors during police investigation, while a protection order (PO) protects survivors during criminal court proceedings. The amendments specify when an IPO ends, and when a PO begins, so survivors won’t be left without protection between police investigations and court proceeding.
- Strengthen the IPO to prevent further abuse. With the amendments, an IPO can include additional safeguards, like prohibiting an abuser from coming near a survivor – so police can intervene before further violence happens.
- Expand the definition of domestic violence. The expanded definition will protect against: misappropriating property, which causes distress; threatening, which causes distress or fear for safety; or communicating (including electronically) with the survivor to insult modesty.
- Improve rehabilitation provisions. A court can no longer order a survivor to attend reconciliatory counselling with the abuser, which puts the survivor in danger. Instead, the abuser can be ordered to complete a rehabilitation programme.
- Recognise survivor’s right to exclusive occupancy. If a court grants a survivor occupancy of a shared residence, it must grant the survivor exclusive occupancy – not just a specified part of the residence.
- Keep survivors better informed. The police officer must keep survivors informed on the status of investigation, status of IPO and PO, and important court dates.
- Create the Emergency Protection Order (EPO). The EPO helps survivors get protection faster – EPOs are issued by social welfare officers who are easily accessible (IPOs are issued by magistrates). Survivors won’t have to make a police report to get an EPO. The EPO is valid for seven days, and protects against physical injury and fear of physical injury.