Background to Safe at Home

Development of Safe at Home

Historically, the response to family violence in Tasmania focused on assisting victims to leave violent relationships by providing shelters, practical assistance and counselling services.

This approach helped many people to leave violent relationships and was instrumental in raising public awareness of family violence issues. However, it did not reduce the incidence of family violence, nor did it address the behaviour of offenders.

In 2004, Tasmania was one of the first jurisdictions in Australia to develop an integrated whole-of-government response to family violence. Tasmania continues to be the only State that provides police with the ability to issue 12 month protection orders to ensure immediate legal protection for victims and children. Importantly, the program has been ongoing for over 14 years and continues to evolve to support best practice responses.

Community consultation

In 2003, the Attorney-General asked that an options paper be developed that would identify the most effective way of reducing the incidence of family violence in Tasmania.

The Options Paper, Safe at Home: A Criminal Justice Framework for Responding to Family Violence in Tasmania, was released by the Government in August 2003 as a vehicle to consult with key government and non-government stakeholders about new family violence legislation and the integration of justice response systems. A full consultation on Safe at Home was held in 2003, which involved regional public consultation sessions in the South, North and North-West.

Submissions

Written submissions on the proposed framework were called for and thirty-one submissions were received. The overwhelming majority of submissions were supportive of the proposed pro-arrest, pro-charge, pro-prosecution framework and integrated response to family violence.

Funding

Funding for an integrated, whole-of-government response to family violence, known as Safe at Home, was announced in the 2004-05 Tasmanian budget.

Legislation

On 26 November 2004 the Tasmanian Parliament passed the Family Violence Bill, Tasmania's first stand alone family violence legislation. The Family Violence Act 2004 came into effect in March 2005.