Domestic violence requires jail for deterrence

Section 5 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) sets out five principles for sentencing in Victoria: punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation, denunciation and protection of the community. Each of these might be more or less significant in a particular case. The Court of Appeal today ruled: “General deterrence is of fundamental importance in cases of domestic violence.” Their Honours explained: “The victims of such violence are often so enveloped by fear that they are incapable of either escaping the violence or reporting it to the authorities. The key to protection lies in deterring the violent conduct by sending an unequivocal message to would-be perpetrators of domestic violence that if they offend, they will be sentenced to a lengthy period of imprisonment so that they are no longer in a position to inflict harm.” This decision forms a precedent that will need to be followed by courts sentencing for domestic violence in future. The Court upheld the man’s 8 year head sentence, with a non-parole period of 6 years, for breaking his de facto wife’s arms.