Legislative Council Thursday 24 June, 2021
Ms WEBB, on behalf Ms FORREST, question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
With regard to the commitment made during the election to introduce legislation to create a separate offence of non-fatal strangulation:
What is the proposed timeframe for introduction of this legislation?
Madam Deputy President, I thank the member for her question.
Our Government recognises that non fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation is a significant form of violence which can be a precursor for escalation in the severity of family and domestic violence.
Non-fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation is never acceptable. The protection and safety of victims of family violence and their children is a priority for our Government. That is why we announced at the election that we will move to strengthen our laws, informed by the receipt of final advice from the Tasmania's independent Sentencing Advisory Council, which was asked by the Attorney-General to review our sentencing laws and practice in this area.
The Sentencing Advisory Council has delivered its report on non-fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation under the Criminal Code Act of 1924 to the Government and has made three recommendations in relation to sentencing laws in Tasmania.
Our Government will now legislate to introduce a stand-alone offence of non-fatal strangulation in Tasmania, which will recognise the seriousness of this behaviour by allowing it to be charged and prosecuted as a specific criminal offence. In doing so, we have listened to our stakeholders and the community and are taking on board the extensive work of the Sentencing Advisory Council regarding the various laws that operate in most other states and territories.
The Department of Justice will be immediately commencing consultation with relevant stakeholders on the elements of the offence, including intent, harm and recklessness. This work will inform a draft bill to be circulated for broad community consultation by the end of 2021, with the intent to table the legislation in early 2022.