The Council has released a new report examining personal safety intervention orders (PSIOs) in Victoria between 2011 and 2020. PSIOs are designed to apply in non-family violence contexts. The report is the first of three by the Council to assist the Victorian Law Reform Commission to respond to its terms of reference on stalking.
The report finds that during the 10-year period, there were:
- 106,000 applications for PSIOs, mostly in the Magistrates’ Court
- 58,000 final PSIOs issued, mostly in the Magistrates’ Court
- 26,000 breaches of PSIOs recorded by police
- 9,000 breaches of PSIOs sentenced by courts, mostly in the Magistrates’ Court.
The report also finds significant overrepresentation of PSIOs and breaches in regional Victoria, especially Gippsland and Loddon Mallee. While 24% of Victoria’s population lives in rural and regional areas, 41% of PSIO applications and orders were made in the regions. In addition, 43% of charges were sentenced in the regions.
In the Magistrates’ Court:
- most respondents (people subject to a PSIO or PSIO application) were male (67%)
- most protected persons were female (55%)
- the most common relationship between respondents and protected persons was between neighbours (at least 27%)
- the most common sentencing outcomes were adjourned undertakings (25%) and fines (24%), especially when the PSIO breach was the only offence in the case (adjourned undertakings 33%; fines 36%).
In the Children’s Court:
- most respondents were male (57%)
- most protected persons were female (67%)
- the most common relationship between respondents and protected persons was school-related (at least 27%)
- the most common sentencing outcomes over the 10 years were good behaviour bonds (26%) and probation (23%)
- diversion is now the most common outcome each year (it was rolled out statewide in 2017).
The report, Sentencing Breaches of Personal Safety Intervention Orders in Victoria, can be downloaded from our website.