Last week WA’s Attorney-General Michael Mischin announced that Western Australia’s system for dealing with perpetrators of domestic violence will move closer to Victoria’s system. This change will see the closure of the state’s ‘domestic violence courts’ and will mean that perpetrators are less likely to avoid jail time.
The domestic violence courts allowed offenders who pleaded guilty to opt for attendance in programs that were designed to help change their behaviour in an attempt to lower the rates of reoffending. Reviews conducted of the domestic violence courts concluded that the rates of reoffending were higher than those states which dealt with such offenders in mainstream courts.
The new system will mean that Magistrates will still have the option of referring those who enter guilty pleas to behavioural programs. However, the aim of the court will focus more greatly on the safety of the affected family as opposed to the treatment and monitoring of the offender.