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NSW proposes new bail restrictions for alleged domestic violence offenders

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Under a draft law, alleged perpetrators will face a higher threshold for securing bail. Alleged offenders would also be required to wear ankle bracelets if they are granted bail.
The NSW Government has announced it will propose stricter bail reforms for people accused of serious domestic violence offences.

The NSW Government has announced it will propose stricter bail reforms for people accused of serious domestic violence offences.

Under a draft law, alleged perpetrators will face a higher threshold for securing bail. Alleged offenders would also be required to wear ankle bracelets if they are granted bail.

It follows the State Government’s recent announcement of a $230 million emergency package to support victim-survivors of domestic, family, and sexual violence.

Announcement

If passed, the bill will reverse the presumption of bail for ‘serious’ domestic violence offences.

Bail allows someone to live at home while awaiting trial, instead of jail.

‘Serious’ domestic violence offences will include sexual assault, strangulation and kidnapping. It also includes coercive control, which will be a criminal offence from from 1 July.

Under the draft law, alleged offenders would need to demonstrate why they should be let out into the community when applying for bail.

This is called the ‘show cause’ requirement, which currently applies to the most serious of offences, including murder, the sexual assault of a child and a commercial-scale drug operation.

The Government also plans to expand electronic monitoring (e.g. ankle bracelets) to people accused of serious domestic violence offences who do secure bail.

Opposition

Last week, the NSW Opposition tabled a similar bill to strengthen bail laws for serious domestic violence offences. It also included the requirement of ankle bracelets.

The leader of the Opposition, Mark Speakman, said his party supports the Government’s new bail reforms “in principle”.

“The Opposition is prepared to work with the Government to ensure their legislation is considered by the Parliament [this month] — this is what the people of NSW expect.”

Full Stop Australia, a national organisation for domestic violence prevention, also expressed support for the reforms, saying they were “in accordance with a large and well-established evidence base.”

CEO Karen Bevan said: “Ensuring that bail decisions appropriately prioritise victim-survivor safety… is one of many important steps.”

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