Further funding for Tasmania’s Family and Sexual Violence Services

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Further funding for Tasmania’s Family and Sexual Violence Services

10 January 2022

Eliminating family violence remains a top priority, which is why the Tasmanian and Australian Governments are pleased to announce additional funding for Tasmania’s family and sexual violence services under the National Partnership on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses 2021-23 (National Partnership).

Under the National Partnership, Tasmania will receive $5.65 million over two years (2021-22 and 2022-23).

Under the first instalment of this new National Partnership, $1.413 million is being provided for five important initiatives to address frontline service demand in Tasmania:

  • Additional counselling for adults affected by family violence (Engender Equality);
  • Additional counselling for children and young people affected by family violence (Australian Childhood Foundation);
  • Additional transitional housing for people affected by family violence through the Rapid Rehousing Initiative;
  • Additional funding for the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program, which provides security upgrades so women can remain safely in their home; and
  • Funding to extend a pilot of the Family Violence Migration Service to support people on temporary visas affected by family violence (Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service).

The remaining National Partnership funding will be released over the next 18 months, and we will continue to work closely with our community-based specialist services to respond to emerging issues and ensure support is available where it is most needed.

In addition, the Tasmanian Government will also be releasing our third family and sexual violence action plan in July 2022 which will build on our successes, and further refine and target our efforts to achieve our goal that every Tasmanian is able to live free from violence.

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.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

25 November 2021

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I was pleased to table Responding and Reporting 2021, the Annual Report for Safe Homes, Families Communities: Tasmania’s action plan for family and sexual violence 2019-2022, which highlights our key achievements for 2020-21.

Eliminating family and sexual violence is a top priority for our Government and we are strongly committed to preventing and responding to violence in Tasmania.

The Annual Report highlights the positive outcomes of the Government’s second Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan, which is making a real difference in the lives of Tasmanians including:

  • The implementation of the Our Watch Workplace Equality and Respect Standards across all Government departments, which sets goals in our workplaces to address gender inequality and to prevent violence against women;
  • The publication of new resources on the Safe from Violence website, including a non-physical violence campaign, fact sheets and audio recordings in 10 community languages;
  • The delivery of a new statewide program providing early intervention therapeutic services for children and young people exhibiting harmful sexual behaviours;
  • The development and delivery of training initiatives, including the Family Violence: Assessing Risk to Safety training package for the Child Safety Service and the Family and Sexual Violence and Emergency Events training module; and
  • Our commitment of $2.4 million to continue Project Vigilance which is our highly successful national award-winning trial of electronic monitoring of high-risk family violence perpetrators in Tasmania, so as to reduce the incidence and impact of family violence in the State.

This Government has a strong track record of implementing initiatives to address the problem of family and sexual violence. Since 2015 when we launched our first Family Violence Action Plan, the Tasmanian Liberal Government has invested an additional $61.3 million in specific family and sexual violence responses, including the delivery of the 40 actions under our second Action Plan, Safe Homes, Families, Communities.

This investment is in addition to the $19 million in direct and $59 million in indirect funding invested annually in government services that prevent and respond to family and sexual violence.

There is always more work to be done, and we have begun the process of developing our third Action Plan to prevent and respond to family and sexual violence in our community.

This new Plan will build on our successes, and further refine and target our efforts, towards the goal that every Tasmanian is able to live free from violence.

Formal consultation on the new Plan will commence early next year with key stakeholders and victim-survivors  involved in that process, including our 2021 Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, who is a victim-survivor herself. Tasmania’s third Plan will be finalised by July 2022. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge victim-survivors for their courage, and to thank both non-government and government services, and their dedicated workforce, who work every day to prevent and respond to family and sexual violence and to hold perpetrators to account.

Project Vigilance recognised nationally

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

Project Vigilance recognised nationally

23 November 2021

Tasmania Police’s Project Vigilance has received a Silver Award in the police-led category of the 2021 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

The awards recognise best practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia, and play a vital role in highlighting effective community-based initiatives.

Project Vigilance was a highly successful trial of electronic monitoring of high-risk family violence perpetrators in Tasmania, in a bid to reduce the incidence and impact of family violence in the State.

The joint trial between Tasmania Police and the Department of Justice demonstrated:

o    76% decrease of high-risk incidents;
o    75% reduction of assaults;
o    81% reduction of threats;
o    74% reduction in property damage;
o    100% decrease in reports of stalking; and
o    80% of offenders did not re-offend in 6 months following the removal of the electronic monitoring device.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has committed $2.4 million to continue and expand the scope of electronic monitoring of family violence offenders.

The success of Project Vigilance is a clear demonstration of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s strong commitment to keeping Tasmanians safe.

Protecting victims of family violence

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Protecting victims of family violence

10 November 2021

A report identifying the very successful outcomes of Tasmania’s trial of electronic monitoring of family violence perpetrators, Project Vigilance, has been tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament today.

The Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management (DPFEM) commissioned the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) to undertake a series of evaluations of the implementation of Project Vigilance.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including that the electronic monitoring of family violence offenders continues and that the program be expanded to include medium risk offenders.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has committed $2.4 million to continue and expand the scope of electronic monitoring of family violence offenders.

This follows a successful joint trial between Tasmania Police and the Department of Justice which demonstrated:

o    76% decrease of high-risk incidents;
o    75% reduction of assaults; 
o    81% reduction of threats; 
o    74% reduction in property damage;
o    100% decrease in reports of stalking; and
o    80% of offenders did not re-offend in 6 months following the removal of the electronic monitoring device.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to eliminating family violence, which is why we have committed $2.4 million to maintain electronic monitoring of high risk family violence offenders.

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.