Northern Territory Shadow Attorney General John Elferink
Putting The Victim’s Rights First
Victor P Taffa
Shadow Attorney General, John Elferink, will use the next Parliamentary sittings to seek legislative reform to provide an extra layer of community protection for the victims of violent crime.
Mr. Elferink said the Opposition will move to establish Victim Protection Orders in the Territory, which would attempt to secure the safety of the victim of a sexual assault, abduction or attempted murder beyond the offender’s release from prison.
“Because we live in small communities, victims may inadvertently find themselves in close proximity to the person responsible for a violent assault or abduction.” Mr. Elferink said.
“At present, when a victim and offender cross paths, the onus is on the victim to leave the area.”
“A Victim Protection Order imposed by the court places the onus on the offender to avoid the victim, not the other way around.” Mr. Elferink said.
“Our policy would see an order imposed on the offender as part of the head sentence. The order would be similar in nature to a restraining order, with responsibility for not breaching the order resting with the offender.”
The Proposed Bill States:
• The offender must not make contact with, or knowingly place himself or herself anywhere in close proximity to the victim;
• If the offender and victim happen to be in close proximity with each other in a public place the offender must comply with any reasonable request to vacate the area.
“If a victim is in a restaurant and the person convicted of a violent assault is also present, the onus will be on the offender to leave the premises once made aware the victim is there.”
“Victim Protection Orders will be of duration of 20 years, unless otherwise specified by a court.” Mr. Elferink said.
“Breaches of a Victim Protection Order carry a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment or a $13,300 fine.” Mr. Elferink said.