The Federal government has announced changes to ‘non-judicial’ evidence requirements for temporary visa holders, who seek assistance as victim-survivors of family and domestic violence.
From 31 March 2023, a new instrument under the Migration Regulations 1994—Specification of evidentiary requirements—family violence will be in place that reduces the burden placed on victims of family and domestic violence seeking a visa.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said, “Violence against women in Australia is at epidemic proportions but it is not inevitable. We must do all we can to prevent women from having to choose between their safety or their visa status.”
“Ending violence against women is everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s business.”
“I’m pleased we are making changes to ease the ‘non-judicial’ evidence requirements for victims of family and domestic violence seeking safety. It’s important that we review this instrument again in the next 12 months to ensure these changes are fit for purpose,” added Minister Rishworth.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles says, “The Australian Government has zero tolerance for family violence against anyone, including permanent or temporary visa holders.”
“The Albanese Government is committed to addressing violence against women and children. The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, released in October 2022, notes particular vulnerabilities facing migrant and refugee women, including those on temporary visas.”
The new measures include adding midwives to the list of medical professionals who can provide evidence; adding risk assessments and reports as types of evidence in lieu of statutory declarations; adding additional advocacy and crisis service providers who can provide evidence and removing the statutory declaration requirement for some healthcare professionals.
The federal government has consulted with experts across the family violence support and legal sectors and has heard the challenges that victim-survivors of family violence experience in providing evidence to meet the requirements of the existing special provisions relating to family violence for temporary visa holders.
Minister Rishworth explains, “These changes will improve accessibility to the family violence provisions, increase flexibility around the evidence that can be provided and reduce the risk of further traumatisation of victim-survivors of family violence“.
“We know for many migrant women who are experiencing violence by an abusive partner may not have a support network here in Australia, and in some cases, their abuser may be one of the few people they know.
The new instrument improves accessibility to the family violence provisions in the Migration Act by increasing flexibility around the evidence that applicants must provide in order to make a non-judicially determined claim of family violence.
These changes will make it easier for applicants to obtain evidence from professionals and service providers that they are already engaged with.
The government has committed to reviewing the instrument again in the next 12 months to ensure it continues to reflect community expectations.
If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, family, domestic, or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
If you are concerned about your behaviour or use of violence, you can contact the Men’s Referral Service at 1300 766 491.