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Elder abuse laws on legal wish list

The next Victorian government must be brave enough to shun short-term law reforms that appeal to voters at the ballot box, according to a peak body.

In the lead-up to the November state election, the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has issued a request to political parties calling for 51 areas of investment or improvement in the justice system.

For the first time it is pushing for the law reform commission to consider whether elder abuse should be criminalised.

It also says greater funding is needed to expand skilled migration categories and address shortages across the economy.

New national reforms on the wish list include a clear approach to remotely signing or witnessing legal documents, and a consistent definition of family violence across all states and territories.

Victorian Legal Aid and community legal centres are in urgent need of more funding, according to LIV.

“We call on parties to actually respond to these issues in a way that shows a vision and commitment to the future, rather than just a short-term gain at the ballot box,” president Tania Wolff told AAP.

“What we are hoping for is a long-term strategy for improving the legal system.”

It also wants resources to address the growing backlog of cases through the courts, a review into the effectiveness of minimum sentencing laws, and a plan to address the growing prison population.

LIV represents more than 18,000 lawyers and says it will publish responses from political parties in the lead-up to the election.

It came on the same day as a review was tabled in parliament into mandatory sentencing for attacks on emergency service workers.

Of the 14 cases considered in the review, 11 offenders received mandatory minimum sentences or longer.

It found reforms to the Emergency Worker Harm Act are operating as intended.

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