Release: Wednesday 1 May 2019
The CEO of the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania, Yvette Cehtel, today said that today’s reporting of the suspension of a jail sentence for a perpetrator of family violence in the Magistrates Court highlighted the structural problem with the sentencing factors outlined in Section 13 of the Family Violence Act of Tasmania 2004.
Specifically, Ms Cehtel said “It highlights the problem that while it is mandatory that the judge takes into account any rehabilitation program the perpetrator has participated in as part of considering an appropriate sentence, the legislation fails to require the pregnancy of the woman or the presence of a child at the place of the assault be taken into account as a mandatory sentencing factor”.
Currently Section 13 provides that judges and magistrates may consider pregnancy or the presence of a child on premises when imposing an appropriate sentence.
“The law should be changed so that decision makers are compelled to take the pregnancy of the victim and the presence of a child at the premises where the assault occurs into account.” Ms Cehtel said.
“It is high time that the law was brought into line with community expectations, and I call upon the Attorney-General, Elise Archer to remove the discretion – pregnancy and the presence of children at the site of assaults must be taken into account in determining family violence sentences”.
For further information, please contact Ms Yvette Cehtel, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Legal Service Tasmania, phone 62 319466.