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NSW government announces bail reform and electronic monitoring for domestic violence offenders

The reforms are part of a $230 million emergency package to provide support for domestic violence victims.

The NSW government will introduce tougher bail laws and ankle monitors to make it more difficult for alleged domestic violence offenders to re-offend.

People accused of domestic violence offences will be kept on remand or have electronically monitored devices attached to them. If bail is granted, alleged offenders will need to wear ankle monitors.

NSW premier, Chris Minns said the changes were “long overdue, targeted and will help keep women and children safer”.

The proposed reforms will target the most serious offenders who face a maximum sentence of 14 years or more in prison. They comprise of people who are accused of sexual assault, kidnapping, coercive control and strangulation with intention to commit another offence against intimate partners.

Under the proposed laws it would make it easier for police to prosecute people who secretly spy on their partners and will require magistrates to make bail decisions instead of registrars.

For people accused of serious domestic offences, the proposed law would reverse the presumption of bail and would require them to “show cause” as to why they should not be jailed, instead of the prosecution needing to prove it.

Currently, the only people eligible for bail are those charged with the most serious offences such as murder, child sex abuse and large-scale drug schemes.

Minns told ABC Radio Sydney by removing the presumption of bail, it would not erode the presumption of innocence.

“There is a right for an individual for a presumption of innocence but there is also a right for victim-survivor of domestic violence to be free from intimidation, stalking or assault or potentially being killed at the hands of an intimate partner”.

The NSW parliament is expected to pass the law reforms this week after a cabinet meeting approved the proposal late on Monday. The changes are expected to be passed after Opposition Leader Mark Speakman expressed support for the “general thrust” of the plan.

The Australian Institute of Criminology Homicide shows 49 percent of female victims were killed by a former or current intimate partner in 2022/2023. A national domestic violence crisis has been declared with many Australians joining rallies and calling for government action this past year.

If you are seeking help or support in relation to family or domestic violence, please call the national hotline 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).


Photo: Ankle Electronic Tagging by Adirach Toumlamoon is available HERE and used under the Creative Common License. This image has not been modified.

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