7 June 2024

New bail laws passed regarding alleged domestic violence offenders

| Jarryd Rowley
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NSW Premier Chris Minns has announced that new laws with harsher bail requirements for alleged DV offenders will now be implemented across NSW. Photo: Jodie Harrison MP Facebook.

A new law passed by the NSW Government will now make it more difficult for alleged domestic violence offenders to be granted bail.

Under the new law, serious domestic violence offenders will be required to demonstrate why they should not be detained for the duration of the trial with the decision ultimately coming down to the associated magistrates.

If granted bail, the accused offender will be required to wear electronic monitoring unless it is adjudicated that the bail authority is satisfied that the imposing of monitorisation is not necessary.

The show cause provision will apply to coercive control, which will be a criminal offence from 1 July.

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The amendments also strengthen the unacceptable risk test in the bail act. Under these changes, before granting bail, decision-makers must consider:

  • ‘Red flag’ behaviour that could constitute domestic abuse, such as behaviour that is physically abusive or violent; behaviour that is sexually abusive, coercive or violent; behaviour that is stalking; behaviour that causes death or injury to an animal; behaviour that is verbally abusive; or behaviour that is intimidation.
  • The views of victims and their family members, where available, about safety concerns.

The new legislation will also:

  • Expand the categories of offences for which bail decisions can be ‘stayed’, meaning the accused person remains in custody while prosecutors bring a detention application before the Supreme Court.
  • Make it easier to prosecute perpetrators who use tracking devices in a domestic violence context.
  • Ensure magistrates or judges, rather than registrars, make all bail decisions (not just bail decisions related to domestic violence).

Premier Chris Minns said the decision to strengthen bail precautions and introduce monitoring of DV offenders was overdue and the new laws would make NSW safer.

“These laws are long overdue and make it harder for alleged domestic violence offenders to get bail,” he said.

“They will help keep women and children safer.

“These changes are important as part of work across government to improve responses to domestic, family and sexual violence.”

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Minister for Corrections Anoulack Chanthivong said women had the right to feel safe anywhere they went in the community.

“Corrections has specialists right now electronically monitoring offenders on parole or serving orders in the community. We are ready to deploy our expertise and know-how to help expand electronic monitoring to the bail system,” he said.

“Electronic monitoring forms part of the government’s coordinated approach to disrupt domestic violence across multiple fronts.”

The new reforms will also be accompanied by a $230 million package that will aim to further prevent domestic violence in the state as well as provide aid and support to those affected.

The Bail and Other Legislation Amendment (Domestic Violence) Act 2024 amends both the Bail Act 2013 and the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.

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