Sergeant Nathan Gardiner of Trentham Police, Toni Gillett from CAFS Ballarat and Mary-Anne Thomas MP all spoke out against family violence at an event held at the Bendigo Bank in Trentham on 22 November.

As part of the ‘Daylesford and Hepburn say NO to Family Violence’ campaign that has been run by Mary-Anne Thomas across the Hepburn Shire this year, the event was organised by Katie Caleo and Pauline Nolan of Bendigo Bank. “We felt that it was such an important issue, that we wanted to do more.” Ms Caleo said.

Ms Thomas said that the campaign, and events such as these were powerful. “It sends a strong message in to women in country towns that they are not alone, people are out there and understand, and we want to be able to support you. It gives victims of family violence confidence to speak up.”

With an unprecedented investment of $1.91billion in the last budget the Andrews Labor Government is keeping its promise to protect women and children and hold perpetrators to account. Mary-Anne Thomas said “The Andrews Labor Government is doing everything we can to tackle family violence, and it’s great to see this same commitment in our local communities such as Trentham and Daylesford.”

To this end, as of 25 November, the Victim survivors of family violence will be better protected under new Victorian laws coming into force to support the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme.

The new Domestic Violence Order Scheme was created to ensure that in future domestic violence orders made in any state or territory could be automatically recognised and enforced Australia-wide.

To prepare for the changes, Victoria is the only state whose new laws will ensure all existing active domestic violence orders made in Victoria before 25 November will be automatically included in the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme.

Under the new Victorian laws, police also have expanded powers to enter and search a property without a warrant if they form a reasonable belief that a person is at the property in breach of a domestic violence order made in another state or territory.

The additional powers will also allow police to detain a person for the purpose of obtaining a copy of a domestic violence order made in another state or territory. For more information about the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme visit familyviolence.courts.vic.gov.au