Unfortunately in some cases, family violence offenders torment their victims by deliberately using their cars and accumulating fines against them, often aiming to instil fear and anxiety within victims upon the threat of legal action. The Victorian Parliament is proposing to introduce new laws that will permit family violence victims to apply to have toll road and parking fines waived without the requirement of disclosing the identity of the perpetrator.
In addition, new laws will not prosecute victims for any subsequent infringements that are incurred as a result of responding to the family violence such as use of the car or fare evasion on public transport to flee dangerous situations. The purpose of the new scheme is to recognise family violence as its own special circumstance and provide more appropriate recourse for victims.
Currently the process by which the victims are able to have these fines revoked involves submitting statutory declarations and documents such as intervention orders and family violence safety notices. Additionally victims are required to either identify the driver of the vehicle or falsely admit to committing the offences; placing them at risk of further harm or compromising the judicial process.
The Fines Reform Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced to the State Parliament on Tuesday 19th September, and as stated by Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Natalie Hutchins, ‘these reforms deliver on key recommendation made by the Royal Commission and will help take the burden off victims survivors who are unfairly incurring fines as a result of family violence’.