Posted on 08. Jun, 2010 in News

A new system of intervention orders will provide better protection for victims of stalking and help schools in the fight against bullying, Premier John Brumby said today.

Mr Brumby said legislation to be introduced to Parliament this week would provide Victorians with better protection against stalking and other inappropriate behaviour, including cyber and schoolyard bullying.

“Our Government is committed to ensuring victims get the support they need and that is why we have implemented a range of reforms to help protect vulnerable Victorians,” Mr Brumby said.

“These new laws will better protect victims of stalking and serious assaults and threats, while also ensuring that lower level disputes, such as neighbourhood arguments or schoolyard disputes, can be settled through mediation.”

Mr Brumby said the proposed changes would make life easier for school students, staff and parents in stamping out bullying and handling schoolyard disputes.

“Increasingly, intervention orders had been sought for a range of schoolyard disagreements, which could mean a student who was the subject of the order could no longer attend school,” Mr Brumby said.

“With the emphasis on mediation, students involved in disputes needn’t be subject to intervention orders in anything other than the most serious cases.

“For those cases that end up in court, Magistrates will have to consider in making an intervention order whether the conditions of the order would prevent a student from attending school.”

Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Bill would expand the grounds under which a person may apply for an order to include harassment, assault, sexual assault, repeated property damage or interference, stalking and making a serious threat.

“This legislation will protect victims of one-off assaults and provide more supportive processes in court, such as the ability to give evidence from a remote location,” Mr Hulls said.

Mr Hulls said lower level disputes would be handled more effectively with Magistrates for the first time given power to direct parties to attend mediation.

“Of course, serious scenarios such as genuine stalking cases would not be dealt with through a mediation process,” Mr Hulls said.

Mr Hulls said the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria would assess all matters that Magistrates directed to mediation and provide free and confidential mediation where appropriate.

He said the Government provided $4 million over four years in the State Budget to help the Magistrates’ Court implement the personal safety intervention orders.

Comments are closed.