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‘Save lives’: Major change to DV laws

Written by on May 14, 2024

The NSW government has announced the details of a major overhaul to the state’s bail laws to better protect the victims of domestic violence.

The reforms come after 28-year-old mum Molly Ticehurst was allegedly murdered by her former partner Daniel Billings, who was on bail at the time.

Premier Chris Minns announced on Tuesday that the government would introduce reforms to the state’s bail laws in parliament this week.

“(The reforms) will make it harder for alleged domestic violence perpetrators to get bail in the state,” he said.

“These reforms are long overdue but will keep women and children safer in NSW.”

The reforms include reversing the presumption of bail for serious domestic violence offences to make it harder for accused offenders to get bail.

Serious domestic violence offences include sexual assault, strangulation with intent to commit another offence and kidnapping.

This will also include coercive control when it becomes a criminal offence on July 1.

Alleged offenders will be required to present evidence to prove they do not represent an “unacceptable risk to the community”.

“The changes mean that someone who is an alleged serious domestic violence offender is less likely to get bail and we know that this law will save lives,” Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said.

“It will also better support victims survivors and it’ll certainly hold perpetrators to account.”

The government will also expand the electronic monitoring program to those granted bail in the serious offender category of domestic violence offences.

For all other domestic violence offences, the bail decision-maker will have to take consideration certain “red flags” including physical or violent abuse, sexually abusive behaviour, stalking, animal cruelty, verbal abuse or intimidation.

The proposed forms also suggest a change to weekend courts across NSW to ensure bail decisions are made by magistrates, with the potential to use audio-visual links.

Mr Minns said “it’s not going to be years away” but could not provide an exact timeline of when the bail legislation would come into effect.

Opposition Leader Mark Speakman confirmed that the Liberal Party would back the legislation in principle.

“There is a need to act swiftly, and it is of utmost importance that these reforms be given priority and are considered expeditiously by the parliament,” he said.

“The opposition is prepared to work with the government to ensure their legislation is considered by the parliament prior to the June sittings – this is what the people of NSW expect.”