Perpetrators of family violence could face tougher sentences under new laws proposed by the ACT opposition.
The Canberra Liberals will on Monday release a draft bill that would make domestic and family violence aggravating offences, a move that would compel courts to treat family and domestic violence crimes more seriously.
Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee will present a statement alongside the draft that says violence perpetrated in the bounds of a relationship of significant trust is particularly abhorrent.
"Whilst domestic and family violence cannot be eliminated by the law alone, law reform is an essential part of society's response to domestic and family violence. Canberrans should be able to trust their institutions and the law to protect them," Ms Lee's explanatory statement said.
The opposition's draft laws would amend the Crimes Act and Crimes (Sentencing) Act to force courts to consider whether offences involved family violence when imposing sentences.
Current laws do not require harsher sentences for offences committed in the context of family violence.
"It is vital that our laws and legal system are set up for the purpose of preventing and eliminating domestic and family violence," Ms Lee's statement said.
"Unfortunately, our existing laws do not adequately recognise the evil that is family violence, and as such, there is a concerning disconnect between what results from our court system and what the community expects when it comes to the seriousness in how family violence offences should be treated in the eyes of the law."
A letter from the office of the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, released under freedom of information laws, says careful consideration should be given to an aggravated sentencing scheme for family violence.
"The Director would suggest that legislative reform is necessary to ensure that the evil of family violence is properly and adequately recognised in the sentencing process, and that sentences which accord with community expectations are imposed in the territory," the letter, sent in November last year, said.
The opposition's proposed laws come after a two-year review of the Family Violence Act 2016 completed by Australian National University researchers found the legislation was "not operating as intended".
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