Victorians who break domestic violence orders are almost three times more likely to end up in jail than 10 years ago.
In a report released Tuesday, the Sentencing Advisory Council found that the state’s jail rate for violations of domestic violence orders had nearly tripled in the decade to 2020.
In 2011, imprisonment was the fifth most common conviction outcome for an offence, with 14.4% receiving a prison sentence.
By 2020, imprisonment had become the most common conviction outcome at 40.4%.
The introduction of new offenses in 2013 is part of this. Those who persistently violate a domestic violence order can now face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The rate of fines for violations of domestic violence orders has remained stable at around 20% over the ten-year period, according to the report.
But previous reports have observed that fines are often not appropriate in a domestic violence context, particularly if the money comes from communal funds.
Council President Arie Freiberg said there have been significant changes in the nature of prison sentences in recent years.
“Overall, the findings of this report also suggest that Victoria police have become increasingly sensitive to domestic violence,” he said.
The number of short-term intervention orders issued by police increased markedly over the period, as did the number of applications for long-term orders.
Domestic violence safety notices issued by police have risen from around 5,100 a year to 13,200, with a similar increase in applications for longer-term intervention orders in the magistrates’ court over the course of the year. of the same period.
The number of offenses recorded by the police has increased fivefold, from 10,600 in 2011 to 53,200 in 2020.
Stakeholders suggest this was due to an increased willingness to report domestic violence, as well as efforts by Victoria Police to increase responsiveness to abusive behaviour.
Prof Freiberg described the decade as a “transformative time” for Victoria, including the report of the Royal Commission into Domestic Violence in 2016.
“We hope the findings of this report provide some confidence that change is afoot and that domestic violence in all its forms is taken seriously by the justice system.”
Australian Associated Press