House arrest for perpetrators of domestic violence

Perpetrators of domestic violence risk house arrest starting 1 January 2013. Fresh legislation aims to provide greater protection for the victims of domestic violence.

Senator Sabine de Béthune, who helped to steer the legislation through parliament, says that too often the victims of domestic violence are afraid to take any action. Oftentimes they are obliged to flee to escape a violent partner.

"The unjust thing at the moment is that when domestic violence occurs it is routinely the abused partner or the partner with custody of the children who runs away from the family home, often to a refuge. Children are placed in care and the perpetrator stays in the home. Now this situation is being turned upside down. In future the public prosecutor can order the person responsible for the violence to be evicted and the abused partner and the children can stay at home in all safety."

The public prosecutor will be able to impose a temporary house arrest based on police information. The police are often the first to be aware of cases of domestic violence as they are usually the first to intervene.

In practice perpetrators have to leave the home for ten days and may not seek contact with the victim.