Liberty Victoria is mindful of the profound, pervasive, often catastrophic impacts of family violence in Victoria, and the need to develop holistic and sustained strategies to prevent and reduce family violence. Our organisation’s core concern is maintaining a society in which people’s rights, freedoms and dignity are valued and protected. Inasmuch as family violence is, for those individuals and families affected by it, a threat to those rights — including rights to life, property, freedom of movement and association, safety and freedom from fear, access to justice and participation in public life — it constitutes an affront to our core values.
For that reason, Liberty Victoria welcomes the release of the Sentencing Advisory Council’s ‘Swift, Certain and Fair Approaches to Sentencing Family Violence Offenders: Discussion Paper’ (Discussion Paper). It is an informed and careful discussion of whether and how swift, certain and fair (SCF) approaches might be adopted in Victoria.
Liberty's submission seeks to address selected questions posed by the Discussion Paper, and offer some broader comments on the implementation of SCF approaches in Victoria.
In summary, our view is that there is presently insufficient evidence to support the adoption in Victoria of a strict SCF program, in the nature of Hawaii’s HOPE Program and its counterparts elsewhere in the United States.