WA domestic violence laws pose an insidious threat

WA domestic violence laws pose an insidious threat, by Augusto Zimmermann.

The West Australian parliament is introducing new laws regarding domestic violence which pose an insidious threat to fundamental rights of citizens in this state.

Current laws ensure that if a woman alleges violence has occurred she will usually be issued with a restraining order without any evidence to support that claim.

These proposed new laws take this even further. If the new legislation passes through parliament it will be enough for a woman to simply claim she fears violence may occur in order to be issued with a restraining order.

Such restraining orders can be used to evict a man from his home, to deny contact with his children. These orders lack the proper application of due process and they are often granted on a “without admissions” basis which means no evidence needs to be produced. If these so-called “reforms” become law they will inevitably lead to the further undermining of basic rights to natural justice, property rights and parental rights in this state.

What could be more sexist than that? Seriously, men increasingly aren’t getting married — see for instance Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters by Helen Smith. If men don’t have a stake in society then they won’t fight for it or strive. Good luck!

So under the new laws it will not even be necessary to demonstrate domestic violence has occurred. Action can now be taken before that point, simply on the basis that someone fears that the alleged control or intimidation could escalate into violence. That’s an extraordinary shift, undermining one of the foundations of the rule of law, namely that one is innocent until proven guilty. …

Clearly the government believes these moves will have popular support particularly from women voters. But judging from the submissions received by the Commission there are many in our community, including many women, who are already uncomfortable with gender politics being used to undermine essential legal rights. This is certainly a step too far.

What measures are being made to protect men? Crickets. See also Domestic violence: data shows women are not the only victims.