Monday, August 3, 2009

Harmonising laws will help to address violence against women and children

Last 24th of July, Amnesty International welcomes announcement by the Federal and NSW governments of a joint examination of ways to harmonise domestic violence and family law.

“Today we have seen a step forward in the protection of women and children around Australia,” said Amnesty International Australia’s National Director Claire Mallinson. “The legal protection and support a woman receives should not depend upon her postcode.”

While prosecution of most crimes against women is the responsibility of the states and territories, Amnesty International’s research has found that harmonising these laws would be an essential part of an effective National Plan of Action to Address Violence Against Women and Children.

Amnesty International commends this initiative, as Australia currently has no national standards for the training of police and legal professionals on violence against women. It is internationally recognised good practice that anyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of violence is trained specifically in the needs of women. Amnesty International Australia calls for this training to include police, prosecutors and the judiciary, to sensitise them to the needs of women.

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