Written by Kim Koelmeyer
The “Family Violence Rehabilitation Program Bill 2018” sponsored by Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) has passed Youth Parliament this afternoon.
PLC’s bill provides an avenue for rehabilitation for perpetrators of family
violence, allowing perpetrators to re-integrate into society and their families. They
emphasised a model of rehabilitation that will reduce recidivism more than incarceration can.
“In being ostracised by the criminal justice system, perpetrators are given no incentive to have a positive impact on society,” PLC team member Rebekah Kelly said in her speech.
“In order to have them benefit society, we need to rehabilitate them.”
Refuting team Castlemaine Secondary College expressed their concerns over the bill’s
logistics, as well as its focus on perpetrators rather than victims.
“This bill only aims to stop the recidivism of family violence, but what about preventing it in the first place?” Castlemaine team member Ella Hayes said.
With their bill, PLC joins many others in the fight to reform the family law system. Most notably, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court are set to merge in an attempt to stem the backlog of family law cases.
“It is commendable that the current government has implemented recent reforms like
awareness campaigns and increased support for services,” PLC team member Kethmi Gamage said. “However there are still many areas where they fail and we believe our rehabilitation program will fill those gaps.”
Despite the heated debate, the bill passed the Legislative Assembly with minor amendments.
The team hope this victory will spark more widespread conversations about family violence at both a state and federal level. The bill will now be passed on to Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Natalie Hutchins for consideration.