Premier Announces Royal Commission Into Family Violence

23 December 2014

The Andrews Labor Government will establish Australia’s first Royal Commission into the most urgent law and order emergency occurring in our state and the most unspeakable crime unfolding across our nation.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence will be led by Justice Marcia Neave AO, Justice of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria, since 2006. Justice Neave will retire from the bench prior to the Governor’s appointment.

Justice Neave has a celebrated history in academia, policy and the law. She was the foundation chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, conducting inquiries into sexual offences, homicide and disability.

The Royal Commission will investigate the entire family violence support system and justice system from the ground up, including government and non-government organisations, courts, prosecutors, police, corrections and child protection.

Its focus will be on preventing family violence, increasing early intervention, improving victim support, making perpetrators accountable and helping agencies better coordinate their response. The Andrews Labor Government will accept its recommendations.

Family violence costs our economy more than $3.4 billion a year and constitutes 40 per cent of police work. One woman is murdered by her current or former partner every week. Family violence is the leading contributor to death and disability in Australian women under 45. Seventy five per cent of all assaults against women happen at home.

Justice Neave is the only academic appointed to the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court in Victoria’s history. In 1999, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her services to law reform, particularly in relation to issues affecting women. She was a recipient of the Centenary Medal in 2001.

Two Deputy Commissioners will assist Justice Neave: Patricia Faulkner AO, Chair of Jesuit Social Services and the National Health Performance Authority, and Tony Nicholson, Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Ms Faulkner is a former Secretary of the Department of Human Services in Victoria, and Chair of the Prime Minister’s Social Inclusion Board. Mr Nicholson was Chair of the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“I can’t promise to keep every woman and child safe, but I am prepared to try. When one woman is a victim of family violence, then we are all diminished. It’s a crime and it’s our problem.”

“The whole system is broken. It doesn’t protect the vulnerable, it doesn’t punish the guilty and more of the same policies will only mean more of the same tragedies.”

“Thousands of dedicated professionals and volunteers work so hard to improve the system and save lives, but they’re under a lot of pressure. This Royal Commission will honour their efforts.”

Quotes attributable to Fiona Richardson, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

“The Royal Commission will examine our system from the ground up. The problems are well known, the focus of this Commission will be on solutions.”

“Justice Neave is a celebrated judge, academic and lawyer who has devoted so much of her professional life to keeping women safe – on the streets, in the workplace, and now, in their homes.”

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Reviewed 19 August 2020

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