DV Vic provided verbal and written submissions to the Sentencing Advisory Council on whether restitution and compensation orders should become sentencing orders.
Key highlights of DV Vic’s submission were:
- Restitution and compensation orders should not become sentencing orders in cases of family violence.
- Financial reparation should not become a purpose of sentencing in cases of family violence.
- DV Vic supports the proposal that survivors of family violence should be given the option to assign their rights to enforce restitution and compensation orders to the state.
- For those survivors of family violence who choose to retain the right to enforce the order via civil means, DV Vic believes new strategies are required to improve civil enforcement and increase access to justice for survivors of family violence, including removing fees relating to civil enforcement; provision of free legal information, advice and representation to victims seeking to enforce orders; provision of specialist family violence support; and court-based case management.
- Restraining an alleged family violence offender’s asset for the purposes of meeting any future restitution and compensation order will have negligible positive outcomes for survivors of family violence, and may in fact increase the risk of violence and/or deter survivors of violence from seeking assistance via the criminal justice system.
To discuss any of these points further, please feel free to contact policy advisor Alison Birchall.