Laws aimed at keeping women safe from domestic violence are failing
Women left to fight on their own
By TARA ROSS
Sunday Star-Times investigations reveal it is getting harder for women to win protection orders against violent partners, and judges are increasingly granting orders only in deferred, defended court hearings – rather than straight away.
The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, expected to release a report next week criticising the trend, says it puts women in danger.
Refuge workers say that’s because women are being put off by court delays — they don’t want to be put in danger without legal protection while they wait for the defended court hearing — and the failure of courts and police to consistently enforce the law.
Brian Gardner, manager of the National Network of Stopping Violence, said women were more at risk than before the Domestic Violence Act became law.