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Minns: DV bail reform imminent, AVO changes

Written by on May 9, 2024

A major overhaul of bail conditions and how apprehended violence orders (AVOs) are monitored could be announced within days, as one state flags further protections for “vulnerable women”.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the “legislative response” to bail reform in domestic violence cases could be announced as early as this weekend as part of a major “legislative response”.

It follows a series of horrific incidents where women were allegedly attacked or killed by their partners across the state, including one alleged murder west of Sydney.

Mr Minns also flagged new policy in what further protections can be put in place to help victims, “particularly for vulnerable women”.

“It will include bail changes, and it will include other legislative remedies that we believe will make a difference,” he said.

The bill will be introduced when NSW parliament continues sitting next Tuesday, however the exact details could be released either “on the weekend, or early next week”.

“We’re in the final stages of finalising that cabinet submission so that we can have legislative change in the state,” he said.

Mr Minns also said the government was looking at changes in how Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) are monitored, however said the government’s reform will focus on bail reform.

His comments were made in reference to Wednesday’s alleged domestic violence incident in which a 39-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed at Crunch Fitness gym in Alexandria by a man who she had been in a “very short” relationship with.

It also follows a series of high-profile domestic violence cases, including the alleged murder of 28-year-old Molly Ticehurst, which police allege was committed by her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Billings, while he was on bail.

Police later confirmed the man was known to police for domestic violence related offences.

Mr Minns described it as a “horrifying and shocking” attack, and said the “number and frequency of domestic violence offences in NSW” constituted an “absolute emergency in the state”.

“We’re examining everything … but ‘m also not going to deny the scale of the challenge. There was 39,000 apprehended domestic violence orders issued by the NSW court in the last 12 months”.

On Thursday, the NSW Opposition also introduced a bill which would require electronic monitoring devices to be used on alleged domestic violence perpetrators in serious personal violence offences if they are granted bail.

The suite of reform measures would also mean only magistrates could allow bail in serious personal domestic violence charges, removing the powers from registrars.

However Mr Minns was critical over the use of ankle monitoring, citing a lack of evidence-based trials, the cost of administering the plan, and issues with police resourcing.

Despite this, he said he was “not closing the door” on the potential of further changes in ankle monitors.