LOCAL support workers have backed a trial scheme informing people about the violent criminal history of partners and say it’s preventing domestic violence.
The state government has announced it would extend the domestic violence disclosure scheme until June 2019
The Oxley police district was chosen as one-of-four trial sites for the NSW program in 2016, along with three southern-Sydney commands.
More than 50 people have accessed the scheme in the last two years, including 16 in Tamworth.
While it may seem like a relatively small number compared to the amount of incidents police attend in the region, Tamworth Family Support Service (TFSS) domestic violence team leader Lynda Townsend believed it was working and should be expanded.
She said pilot programs could be slow to take off but attested a couple of individuals had left relationships, based on information accessed through the scheme.
There were 344 domestic violence incidents reported to police in the Tamworth area in 2017.
I think any program designed to increase early intervention and and prevention of domestic violence should reduce the number of victims going forward.- Tamworth Family Support Service domestic violence team leader - Lynda Townsend
Ms Townsend said more people would use the scheme once its success stories were more widely shared.
The ability to address and prevent violence in the home discreetly was one of the more encouraging facets of the program, she said.
“The plus side is it’s done discreetly so it enables potential victims to access services and safety plans,” she said.
Family, friends, colleagues or neighbours can also apply for information as part of the scheme.- NSW Police Minister - Troy Grant
The pilot program ran in correlation with the “wraparound crisis support” program which provided assistance and advice to victims on-site at the request of attending police.
More than 350 people were assisted across the state, including 150 in the Tamworth area.
While the region had more than its share of wraparoundcrisis support in the last two years, Ms Townsend said it highlighted the sheer size of the Oxley policing district.
She wanted the programs to continue.
“I think any program designed to increase early intervention and and prevention of domestic violence should reduce the number of victims going forward,” she said.
“A program like this could save lives.”
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward and Minister for Police Troy Grant said the Scheme has empowered many people to make an informed decision, which could save their lives.
“We know that domestic and family violence is often characterised by a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviours and that perpetrators often repeat these behaviours in subsequent relationships,” Ms Goward said.
Mr Grant said there are no innocent bystanders when it comes to domestic violence.
“If you are concerned that someone you know may be the victim of domestic violence, don’t stay silent.
“Family, friends, colleagues or neighbours can also apply for information as part of the scheme,” he said.