10/06/2020 | Michelle Lensink MLC | Carolyn Power MP | Better Services

Keeping at-risk women and children safe is the aim of a $600,000 Marshall Liberal Government boost enabling the continuation of the successful domestic violence disclosure scheme and a life-saving mobile phone app.

The new funding forms part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s $650 million rescue package to protect South Australians from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The $600,000 in new funding includes:

  • $500,000 to enable the domestic violence disclosure scheme to continue for an additional 12 months, bringing total Marshall Liberal Government investment to almost $1.4 million.
  • $100,000 to continue a life-saving phone app which links at-risk women to police and DV services, bringing total Marshall Liberal Government investment to $250,000.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said both DV initiatives had received “strong uptake” by South Australians who need support.

“The current COVID-19 pandemic is a terrifying time for women living in violent and abusive homes across the nation,” said Minister Lensink.

The Marshall Liberal Government is determined to do whatever we can to tackle the scourge of domestic, family and sexual violence and ensure women feel safe and supported and know where to turn to for help.”

The disclosure scheme gives South Australians the opportunity to find out if their current or former partner has a history of violence or similar offences while also connecting them with help and support in risk assessment and safety planning.

Of the 455 applications the DVDS has received since the scheme began on October 2, 2018:

  • 317 were deemed eligible for further consideration, with 18 applicants deemed to be at imminent risk
  • 136 disclosure meetings were completed with a further 22 approved to take place
  • 62 per cent of applications came from people at risk of domestic and family violence and 38 per cent from someone concerned about another person being at risk
  • 58 per cent of applications involved children
  • 39 per cent were from regional areas and 61 per cent from the metropolitan area
  • 440 applicants were women with a male partner, 11 applicants were men with a female partner and four applicants were men with a partner of the same gender
  • 61 per cent of applicants had not previously received support from a domestic violence service

Minister Lensink said the disclosure scheme had proved its worth.

“The results really speak for themselves,” said Minister Lensink.

“The fact that at least 18 applicants were deemed to be at imminent risk and more than half of applications had not previously received support from a DV service really highlights this trial is very worthwhile and a potential life-saver.

“The volume of disclosure scheme applications continues to demonstrate there are people at risk of experiencing domestic and family violence in South Australia and this scheme is an important way to help take control of their situation, and possibly provide a safer environment for themselves and their children.”

Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Carolyn Power said a life-saving personal protection phone app which links at-risk women to police and DV services has been downloaded 228 times since its commencement in late November 2018.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve seen an additional 87 women sign up to the app, and that goes to show what a valuable tool it is for women at risk,” said Mrs Power.

“Users of the app have direct access to emergency support services when they need it and there’s no doubt it provides South Australians with comfort, knowing the duress feature will see a quick police response.”

The name of the app is not being disclosed, to protect the privacy of those using it and to ensure perpetrators do not know about it.
Mrs Power urged South Australians experiencing domestic violence, feeling at-risk of domestic violence or are concerned about the safety of someone in a relationship, to seek help.

“Now, more than ever, I really urge South Australians to remain vigilant and seek support if they need it,” said Mrs Power.
“We all need to remain vigilant and if you see or hear anything out of the ordinary, call it out and report it.”

The SA Domestic Violence Crisis Line can be contacted 24/7 on 1800 800 098.

In direct response to COVID-19, the Marshall Liberal Government last month also announced a new $2.4 million commitment to deliver a state-first hotline and services for men to seek advice, support and help about their use of violence, funding to provide financial support to women and children and funding for DV advertising and training.