The protection of family pets will be a standard condition in all Apprended Domestic Violence Orders, following the passing of the NSW government's domestic violence bill.
Illawarra Women's Health Centre general manager Sally Stephenson said it was common for domestic violence perpetrators to use whatever was important to their victim as a way to coerce and intimidate - and so often that ended up being the family pet.
"It's really surprisingly common," Ms Stephenson said.
"The strategies and the tools and instruments that perpetrators use are wide and varied but they really go for the things that are important emotionally to a woman.
"So it might be her children, it might be her pets. If she's a gardener, it might be her plants that they rip out of the garden.
"They'll really zero in on those things that are emotionally important to a woman."
The reforms will also give victims the chance to opt to give evidence in closed courts and via audio-visual link.
Also, if the perpetrator is representing themselves, they will not be able to personally cross-examine the victim.
"I think these amendments are a long time coming," she said.
"They have been requested by the sector for a very long time. Women can be re-traumatised by the criminal justice system and one of the key ways that happens is by being cross-examined by their perpetrators.
"That often prevents women from following through with criminal prosecutions and allows perpetrators to continue to abuse and intimidate in court.
"It's a huge win for domestic violence victims and it will really ease the burden that they would have had to endure if [the court] wasn't closed."
While Ms Stephenson said the reforms were welcome, the new legislation would be of no use if it wasn't followed by funding and education about the changes.
"There's no point in bringing in changes if the people within the criminal justice system either don't know about them or do not understand them," she said.
"So things like magistrate training are really important. So is the provision, particularly in rural and regional areas, of proper safe rooms for women.
"The court infrastructure and the system and the people who are within the system really need to be supported in terms of understanding the reform and those reforms being funded."
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said going to court can be overwhelming for victims and that the state government reforms "sought to ease that burden".
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