26 September 2023

Police adopt plan to expose family violence

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A new scheme to help people find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence offences is to be launched across the State.

Announced by Premier Dominic Perrottet, the Right to Ask scheme would allow NSW Police to disclose information to a potential victim of domestic abuse about their partner’s previous abusive or violent offending.

Mr Perrottet said the proposed scheme would empower people at risk of domestic violence to make informed decisions about their relationships.

“There are simply too many heartbreaking stories of women and men being seriously hurt or murdered in circumstances where the perpetrators had a history of prior domestic and violent criminal offences that they didn’t know about,” Mr Perrottet said.

“None of us want to see a loved one scarred by domestic violence and wishing they’d known their partner’s history sooner,” he said.

“We cannot continue to have women being killed in our community so we need to have new approaches, new thinking and new policies to back up our record domestic violence support funding.”

The Minister for Police, Paul Toole said NSW was the first State in Australia to trial a domestic violence disclosure scheme in 2016 but the dating landscape had changed considerably since then with more people accessing dating apps.

“We want to take the lessons from the experience in NSW and other jurisdictions around the world to develop this scheme with input from safety advocates that empowers people who may be at risk of domestic violence,” Mr Toole said.

“This is an opportunity to help people go into relationships with their eyes wide open.”

He said the scheme would allow people make more informed decisions about continuing a relationship, moving in with someone or making them a part of their family.

Mr Toole said it would be designed with input from domestic violence organisations and be accessible in multiple languages.

“It will enable a person who may be at risk to apply through an online portal or phone line to access information about their partner and be accessible in multiple languages,” the Minister said.

“NSW Police will approve any information before it is provided, with strict privacy controls in place including criminal penalties for malicious applications,” he said.

“The service would also facilitate a referral to domestic violence support services where required.”

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