Call to overhaul liquor licensing in domestic violence 'hot spots'

A peak state government advisory panel is calling for an overhaul of the NSW liquor licensing system to presume against the granting of applications for new pubs, clubs or bottle shops in domestic violence "hotspots".

The recommendation is being made by the Domestic Violence Death Review Team in its latest report, which also contains the shocking statistic that 61 per cent of homicides with a female victim in NSW from 2000 to 2014 were domestic violence-related.

The report notes that the link between alcohol and domestic violence means the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) must "take into account" domestic violence rates within local government areas when deciding on applications.

But it argues that the authority "should be required to consider several additional criteria when making determinations".

It says for applications to extend trading hours or for new liquor outlets or bottle shops in areas identified by the state's crime statistician as domestic violence "hotspots" there should be "a rebuttal presumption against granting the application".

The report also recommends that the authority require applications to prepare Community Impact Statements and consult community members including a local police domestic violence liaison officer.

The Domestic Violence Death Review Team's latest report states that 61 per cent of homicides with a female victim in NSW from 2000 to 2014 were domestic violence-related.

The Domestic Violence Death Review Team's latest report states that 61 per cent of homicides with a female victim in NSW from 2000 to 2014 were domestic violence-related.

If the application is successful, the review team says the premises "should be required to display domestic violence educational material within public areas of the venue".

Overall, the report finds that almost one third of all murders in NSW between 2000 and 2014 were domestic violence-related.

It also shows that 61 per cent of the homicides with a female victim in NSW during the period were domestic violence-related, while the figure for male victims was 18 per cent.

The report says between July 2000 and June 2014, 179 women, 99 men and 65 children "lost their lives to domestic violence in NSW".

The team's convenor, magistrate Michael Barnes, says the theme of the report - its fifth - is "the importance of viewing domestic violence holistically, as episodes in a broader pattern of behaviour rather than as incidents in isolation of one another".

"Each case reflects the terrible scourge of domestic and family violence and teaches us from which we can and indeed must learn," he says.

Addressing the effectiveness of Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs), the report notes the majority are enforceable for 12 months only and questions the adequacy of this timeframe.

"The team remains concerned that lawyers and prosecutors are not requesting orders that are long enough to protect the safety of victims of violence," it says.

The report recommends that the attorney-general consider ways to ensure ADVOs are of an appropriate length, including increasing their default length to more than a year "to promote enhances victim safety".

A feature of the report is criticism of media reporting of family and domestic violence.

It says the media's "language and narratives around domestic violence diminish perpetrator accountability, inappropriately blame victims and reinforce problematic stereotypes around violence".

By way of example it highlights reporting by "a prominent Australian newspaper" the day after the alleged murder of a woman by her husband.

The report says the article, in The Sydney Morning Herald in February this year, "included the headline that the murderer 'suspected affair and trawled wife's phone before fatal stabbing'."

The article quoted the accused man's lawyer, who said the woman was "having an affair, he found out about it and the relationship came to a tragic end".

The report acknowledges journalists have to report stories of public interest quickly and sometimes with limited facts.

However, it says "framing stories in this way reduces perpetrator accountability and blames the victim for their death".

This story Call to overhaul liquor licensing in domestic violence 'hot spots' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.