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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73405 Find in a Library
Title: Law Reform and the UK (United Kingdom) Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act, 1976 (From Violence in the Family - A Collection of Conference Papers, P 121-132, 1980, Jocelynne A Scutt, ed. - See NCJ-73400)
Author(s): P M Stratmann
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 15
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The British Act condemning domestic violence and protecting the victims is discussed, and similar legal reforms are proposed for Australia.
Abstract: In response to domestic violence, criminal law is frequently ineffective. Civil remedies, on the other hand, are limited in Australia to the civil suit for damages or assault, the peace complaint (an informal complaint at the local magistrates court), an equitable suit in the Supreme Court for injunction, and injunction proceedings in the Family Court. In comparison, the United Kingdom Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act of 1976 makes considerable advances by underlining the unacceptability of violence and by offering immediate protection through the offender's removal. Three of the provisions would present considerable innovations in the framework of the Australia legal situation: extending the injunction procedure to de facto wives as well as to legally married women; empowering the court to remove a person from a home regardless of whether that person is the sole or joint owner; and extending the power of arrest to be attached to an injunction order in cases of actual violence. An attempt to enact similar provisions in Australia would require both State and Federal law reforms. Since the Federal Government can only legislate with regard to marriage and divorce, the rights of de facto spouses would have to be adopted by each individual State. With respect to married people, a joint Federal parliamentary committee is in the process of revising the Family Law Act. In view of the inadequacy of that Act, the attachment of the arrest power to injuction orders would be a great boon. The article includes bibliographical footnotes.
Index Term(s): Australia; Domestic assault; Injunctions; Law reform; United Kingdom (UK)
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