Further strengthening Tasmania’s family violence laws

Elise Archer, Attorney-General
Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Further strengthening Tasmania’s family violence laws

13 December 2021

A draft bill to introduce a new standalone criminal offence of non-fatal strangulation, choking and suffocation, and to amend the definition of ‘consent’ in relation to stealthing has been released today for community consultation.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government recognises that non-fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation is a significant form of violence, which can be a precursor for escalation in the severity of family violence.

It is never acceptable, which is why we went to the election promising to strengthen our laws and send a strong message it will not be tolerated in Tasmania.

The introduction of a standalone offence appropriately recognises the seriousness of this behaviour, allowing it to be charged and prosecuted as a specific indictable offence in its own right.

Importantly, it would carry a statutory maximum penalty of 21 years’ imprisonment – consistent with most crimes in the Criminal Code Act (1924).

It also addresses Action 30 of Safe Homes, Families, Communities: Tasmania’s action plan for family and sexual violence 2019-2022 which commits to implementing legislative reform to strengthen legal responses to family and sexual violence.

The Government has listened to our stakeholders and the community in drafting this legislation, and we encourage everyone interested to view the legislation and make a submission.

The Bill also amends the definition of consent in relation to ‘stealthing’ which has been the subject of legislative reform in other states.

Specific recognition of ‘stealthing’ in the law will help educate the public, discourage would-be offenders, and encourage complaints and prosecutions for sexual offences such as rape.

This legislation confirms we are continuing to ensure our laws are strong and robust to protect victim survivors of family violence, and ensure perpetrators are appropriately punished for the severity of their crimes.

The Bill is available for public comment through the Department of Justice website at https://www.justice.tas.gov.au/community-consultation/consultations/criminal-code-amendment-bill-2022, with submissions closing on Friday 18 February 2022.

Continuing to keep Tasmanians safe

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Continuing to keep Tasmanians Safe

1 September 2021

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is investing $348 million over the Forward Estimates to Tasmania Police as part of our strong plan to keep Tasmanians safe.

In responding to the 2021-2022 Tasmanian Budget, Colin Riley, the President of the Police Association of Tasmania stated…“The Budget provides funding for all of the Government’s 2021 election commitments to our members and more.”

“We are very grateful for the care shown for our members which will result in increased service delivery and the safety of the Tasmanian community.”

This Government recognises that our Police do an incredible job in protecting our communities, and undertaking challenging and often confronting situations daily as part of their role.

The 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget includes $9.4 million to commence the recruitment of an additional 50 police officers over the next five years, bringing the total to 308 under this Liberal Government.

The Budget also delivers on our other election commitments, including:

  • $3 million towards the $6.5 million State Control Centre, to assist our police officers and State Servants who are working hard to protect our State from COVID-19;
  • $2.5 million over four years to employ eight additional State Service employees who will support police in roles such as prosecution, cybercrime and digital evidence analysis;
  • $20 million towards a new police station in St Helens and significant upgrades at the Bridgewater Police Station;
  • $3.6 million to construct a southern based SOG facility;
  • $2.4 million over 2 years to extend Tasmania’s electronic monitoring of family violence perpetrators, after the successful trial showed a 76 per cent decrease in high-risk family violence incidents, and a 100 per cent decrease in stalking; and
  • $9.6 million towards completing our $21.7 million program of police housing upgrades, delivering 49 new and renovated houses for police officers and their families stationed in remote and regional areas of Tasmania.

The Budget also invests $5.1 million for an Emergency Mental Health Co-Response Team that will improve the way that our services respond to critical mental health cases, while also investing:

  • $2.8 million to bolster our Large Vessel Replacement Program to deliver a world class replacement for the PV Van Diemen;
  • $13.1 million to get police out of courts in the North West of the State;
  • $100,000 over the next four years to Crime Stoppers to assist in delivering its programs; and a
  • $4 million grants program to allow local communities to purchase and install CCTV cameras.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government will continue to invest in Tasmania Police to ensure it can continue to keep all Tasmanians safe and secure Tasmania’s future.