One of the key initiatives proposed to reduce domestic violence in South Australia – a disclosure scheme – has been viewed in operation by Attorney-General John Rau.

Mr Rau has been briefed in London by Metropolitan Police on the progress of the United Kingdom’s domestic violence disclosure scheme.

The UK system is a model that has helped the State Government formulate a proposal for a similar scheme here.

The disclosure scheme is among initiatives to reduce domestic violence and improve support for victims which were detailed in a Discussion Paper published in July by Mr Rau and Status for Women Minister Zoe Bettison with support from Premier Jay Weatherill.

The UK scheme, operated by the UK’s Home Office, facilitates Police disclosure of information about a person’s previous violent offending to a new or existing partner where this may help protect a person from criminal abuse or serious harm. The scheme aims to strengthen the ability of police and agencies to provide appropriate protection and support to victims of abuse.

South Australia’s domestic violence paper generated considerable community interest. Public comment closed on Sunday, with 629 survey responses received from the non-government sector, peak bodies and the broader community.

In addition, 70 written submissions have been delivered or are due to be received.

Survey responses included 119 people working for service providers, police, government agencies and courts who completed a survey specifically designed for the sector. More than a third of respondents work in regional or remote areas and more than half work with indigenous communities.

A survey aimed at the broader community elicited 510 responses. Of these, 22 per cent live in a regional or remote area, 18 per cent were men and 4 per cent were indigenous South Australians.

In addition, a Key Partner workshop was also held over two days in August to develop advice from the non-government sector.

The Government will now consider all of the feedback.

In London, Mr Rau also has met liquor licensing officials and attended a function celebrating South Australian suffragette Muriel Matters.

Background

The State Government’s Domestic Violence Discussion Paper was released for consultation in July, and included eight key themes relating to the provision of services and protections available to victims of domestic violence:

  • The introduction of a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme
  • Expiry dates on intervention orders (previously known as restraining orders)
  • The most effective way to collect and use comprehensive data on domestic violence
  • Whether police video recordings should be admissible as evidence at trial
  • Whether confidentiality provisions around counselling records should be improved
  • Whether courts should require domestic violence offenders to be assessed for drug and alcohol problems
  • The provision of housing and homelessness support to victims of domestic violence
  • How victims can be better supported in the workplace and other environments

The Domestic Violence Discussion Paper contained unprecedented levels of data collected by South Australia Police on domestic violence in South Australia, in an effort to shine a spotlight on the problem in our State.

The South Australian Government has already made significant reforms to address the problem of domestic violence, including strengthening intervention orders, implementing new tenancy provisions, establishing a Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service and creating the nation-leading Multi-Agency Protection Service.

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General John Rau

It has been very informative to talk to London’s Metropolitan Police and hear about the lessons they have learnt in implementing their domestic violence disclosure scheme.

Our discussion paper shone a light on the domestic violence problem and encouraged people to consider the initiatives that may make a real difference.

The large number of responses show people care deeply about this issue.

Every member of our community has a role to play in addressing the problem.

I thank everyone who took the time to read the discussion paper and offered their feedback.