Twenty-seven successful applications under domestic violence initiative being trialled in St George and the shire

The then police commission Andrew Scipione, Pru Goward and Jennifer Armstrong, a domestic violence survivor and 2016 NSW Woman of the Year, at the launch of the DVDS.
The then police commission Andrew Scipione, Pru Goward and Jennifer Armstrong, a domestic violence survivor and 2016 NSW Woman of the Year, at the launch of the DVDS.

Twenty people have successfully applied to learn if their present or former partner has a history of violent crimes under a scheme being trialled in four police commands, including St George and Sutherland.

A further seven successful applications have been made by other concerned people since the pilot scheme started a year ago.

Third-party applications can be made by a family member, friend or a professional who has an ongoing relationship with the person who may be at risk.

The disclosure is made to the person deemed to be at risk.

During the year, a total of 65 primary and third-party applications were made.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward and Police Minister Troy Grant released the figures for the first year of the domestic violence disclosure scheme (DVDS).

The scheme, which is the first of its kind in Australia, has been available in Sutherland, St George, Oxley (Tamworth area) and Shoalhaven local area commands since April 13, 2016.

Under the DVDS, people who feel they, or someone they know, may be at risk can submit an application at a police station in the pilot region where they live.

If police assess the applicant to be of serious risk, they will be notified of any relevant convictions within 48 hours.

It is understood there has been some confusion in the shire because the pilot scheme is restricted to Sutherland local area command, and is not operating in the Miranda command area.

Sutherland Shire Family Services, which operates in both St George and the shire, was chosen to partner police in the trial in the two Sydney commands.

Chief executive Diane Manns said the DVDS had been “a little bit slow at first, but we are starting to see results as more information gets out into the community”.

Ms Manns said a second component of the DVDS – a crisis call-out service for victims of domestic violence –was being very well used.

Call-outs came from police, who attended incidents, she said.

Ms Manns said a support worker from Sutherland Shire Family Services was also spending one day on a weekend every fortnight at Kogarah police station.

“Weekends are the worst time for domestic violence,” she said.

“The support worker is positioned near the front counter where she is available to assist police when someone comes in over a domestic violence matter.”

Ms Goward said perpetrators of domestic and family violence often repeated abusive and controlling behaviour in successive relationships.

“We want to prevent people from being kept in the dark about these patterns of abusive behavior,” she said.

Mr Grant said there were “no innocent bystanders when it comes to domestic violence”.

“If you are concerned for a loved one, don’t keep that concern to yourself,” he said.

Disclosure scheme information: domesticviolence.nsw.gov.au/dvds

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