New police teams to tackle domestic violence
My enduring memory from my days in regional NSW as a police officer was returning again and again to the same doorsteps to find the same scene. It was the same families hiding bruises – with police hands tied to target repeat domestic violence offenders as much as they would like. Today this changes.
We announce high visibility Domestic Violence High Risk Offender Teams to target repeat offenders and our hope is that families will not have to live through violence a second, third and fourth time. I recall one incident years ago where I arrived to find a man calmly sitting on the couch watching television after his partner had called us to the home. She still answered the front door with a knife stuck in her back. Sadly, that had become her version of normal. Many others are too horrific to repeat.
Every woman, man and child deserves to feel safe in their own homes. They should never be forced to live in fear of the violent reactions of another. General duties police are often the first responders when domestic violence is reported. This new trial of Domestic Violence High Risk Offender Teams will offer specialist expertise to target repeat habitual offenders.
Regional NSW, where domestic violence rates are high, will be one of the first places these teams will focus on. Our regions suffer worse rates of domestic violence then our cities.
The specialist officers will provide support to other police with information and intelligence, while forming partnerships for victim support including monitoring outstanding offenders, repeat victims and repeat offenders. We are fast tracking the placement of 24 domestic violence liaison officers who will be there to support victims.
As a community, we need to stand up for those who are too little, whose voice is not heard and who cannot protect themselves against the force of an angry coward. We need your help. We need to report suspicion of abuse, as we would any other crime. It is never acceptable to respond with violence towards our partners, our parents, or our children. Similarly it is not acceptable to suspect domestic violence is occurring and not report it.
The NSW Government has a strategy to improve the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence.
We are implementing disclosures of histories of domestic violence, police-issued apprehended domestic violence orders and evidence in chief to reduce the trauma of victims giving evidence in court.
We need a cultural change to create the community we deserve to live in. To properly stamp out domestic violence, it’s up to Government to support police on the frontline and all of us to refuse to turn a blind eye to anyone with a black eye.