Women fleeing abusive partners may have to wait until next year before getting access to a scheme recognising domestic violence orders across state and territory borders.
The scheme will make orders automatically recognised and enforceable in any jurisdiction across the country.
Courts and police officers across states will share information on active orders – and NSW, Queensland and Tasmania will trial the system.
However, its full operation will have to wait for the formal approval of the nation’s leaders who met as the Council of Australian Governments in Canberra on Friday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it was logistically difficult to impose such changes across the country.
But he would be “very disappointed” if the scheme wasn’t in place within 12 months, given discussions about reform have been going on for too long.
“This idea that any of us should be just going about business as usual in the knowledge that tens of thousands and more are being terrorised in their own homes, it’s just wrong,” he said.
Besides the scheme, a strategy to help women tackle online abuse will also be drawn up by 2015-end, while $30 million will be pumped towards a national campaign to show Australians the “evil” of domestic violence.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the campaign must recognise regional, cultural and relationship differences and focus on people of non-English speaking backgrounds, indigenous communities, and those in same-sex relationships.
“They can’t be overlooked in this context,” he said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wanted specialised domestic violence courts.
“I think that we can explore (this) further in terms of having a holistic approach,” she said.
Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty will be assisted by former Victorian police chief commissioner Key Lay on developing the campaign.
Ms Batty shared her story with the leaders before their meeting, opening up on her own experiences and how the system failed her.
In a separate measure, the federal government has pledged $15 million to community services to help women affected by domestic violence, alcohol or drug issues.