Recent initiatives of the state government aimed at protecting people at risk of domestic violence have shown promising results in their first month of operation.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme gives individuals who may be at risk the chance to find out if their current or former partner has a history of violence or related offences. An application may be made by any person in South Australia who is over the age of 17 years.
By providing information about prior relevant offending, a potential victim of domestic violence has the opportunity to make an informed decision about their safety, be given the chance to seek assistance, undertake safety planning, and then decide whether or not to remain in the relationship.
The scheme began accepting applications on 2 October this year.
Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said that within the first four weeks, SA Police had received 28 applications under the scheme, with 16 applications accepted for further consideration.
“Some disclosures have already been made – demonstrating there is both genuine interest in the scheme, and a need for people to seek information about either their current or former partner,” Ms Chapman said.
“These 28 applications in the first four weeks are considerable compared to a similar scheme rolled out in regions across NSW where 42 applications were received during the first 6 months, noting the real need for this scheme in South Australia.”
Attorney-General Chapman said that, to date, roughly a third of people had sought information about a current partner, with the remainder seeking information about an ex.
Human Services Minister, the Hon Michelle Lensink said that the scheme isn’t just about the disclosure itself but putting people in touch with the services they need and perhaps would never have come across if not for the scheme.
“Most importantly, the 28 people who have already used the disclosure scheme have been put in touch with a range of support services, giving them a new option for support now and into the future,” Ms Lensink said.
Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention said it was also great to see people apply from all areas of South Australia, including rural areas.
“We’ve seen interest from both metropolitan (70%) and regional areas (30%), and I would encourage those who may have a concern to seek information through this process,” Assistant Minister Power said.
People can find out more about the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or make an application using the online form by visiting www.police.sa.gov.au/your-safety/dvds