Resourcing of NSW Police Force to protect domestic violence victims never more important

Women’s Safety NSW – media release
24 March 2020

 

With the passing of measures in NSW today which will see an increase in the length
of provisional apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs) from 28 days to six
months, domestic violence workers want to see a boost in resources for specialist
domestic violence teams within the NSW Police Force.

A critical change needed is senior specialist domestic violence police oversight of
domestic violence related charges and provisional ADVOs to ensure orders which
may be in place for some time are both appropriate and well-tailored to the individual
circumstances of each case.

Further, it is essential that police have sufficient capacity to return children who are
subject to shared care arrangements to a safe parent/ caregiver where this presents
as an issue, and that High-Risk Offender Teams can maintain their effective
monitoring of high-risk offenders during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Right now, the way the service system is set up, women and children are very reliant 
upon police for their safety, and with these new changes, this reliance has become
even heavier” says Women’s Safety NSW chief executive officer, Hayley Foster.

“In our experience in having case workers working with specific community groups, it 
is absolutely vital at this time when we are seeing an increased risk of domestic 
violence and abuse that the police are well resourced to provide consistent, reliable,
tailored responses. We must do everything we can to support women and children 
and other vulnerable groups in their safety in these periods of escalating risk.” says
Tanya Whitehouse OAM, Coordinator of Macarthur Women’s Domestic Violence
Court Advocacy Service.

Women’s Safety NSW noted that they have already been working with the NSW
Police Force to ensure that front line general duties police officers are aware of the
requirements to include children as protected persons on provisional ADVOs where
their safety is a concern and to ensure consideration is given to the appropriateness
of exclusion orders being granted in cases where women and children are able to be
supported to remain safely in their own home with the offender excluded.

The organisation has also been advocating for funding for more specialist Domestic
Violence Liaison Officers (DVLOSs) and Aboriginal Cultural Liaison Officers (ACLOs)
as these roles are pivotal to ensuring high quality responses at the local area
command level.

“Police are performing a most crucial role during a most difficult time” says
Whitehouse “And we need to ensure they are resourced to carry out this role to the 
very best of their abilities. This means an injection of funding for their specialist 
domestic violence teams. This really is going to be a central plank in ensuring women 
and children’s safety during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Useful Resources and Support Services

1800RESPECT

1800 737 732

24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Call toll-free 1800 737 732. Visit website

Lifeline

13 11 14

Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State. Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can call 13 11 14. Visit website

Men’s Referral Service

1300 766 491

This service from No to Violence offers assistance, information and counselling to help men who use family violence. Call 1300 766 491 if you would like help with male behavioural and relationship concerns. Visit Website

Mensline Australia

1300 789 978

Supports men and boys who are dealing with family and relationship difficulties. 24/7 telephone and online support an information service for Australian men. Call 1300 789 978 for help. Visit website

Kids Help Line

1800 551 800

Free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25 in Australia. Call 1800 551 800 for help. Visit website

Relationships Australia

1300 364 277

Support groups and counselling on relationships, and for abusive and abused partners. To be connected to the nearest Relationships Australia, call 1300 364 277 (for the cost of a local call).