Topic 1: Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme
This is a summary of Topic 1. Download the complete Topic 1 from the Discussion Paper.
There is no system in South Australia that allows you to find out about a person’s history of domestic violence offending. The South Australian Government has committed to considering the development and implementation of a domestic violence disclosure scheme (DVDS) to make this possible. A DVDS would aim to reduce the incidents of domestic violence and strengthen the ability of police and agencies to provide protection and support to victims of abuse.
Under a DVDS, you can ask for information about a partner’s history as a domestic violence offender. A series of checks are then performed and a decision made about whether you are at risk and should be told about the person’s history.
Who Should be Allowed to Apply?
This is an important question open for community discussion. For example, should the scheme only be available to people in a current relationship, or should you be able to find out about a previous partner? We are also asking you to consider whether disclosure applications should be extended to include third parties, such as family, friends and colleagues.
The Application Process
A DVDS in South Australia must have a simple and accessible application process. In similar schemes in the UK and NSW, applications are made through the police. The police then determine whether a disclosure should be made based on whether it may prevent a future crime.
Disclosure of Information
The question of what information should be disclosed requires careful consideration. For example, should information be limited to prior convictions for relevant criminal offences, or should the threshold be wider to include intervention orders or allegations?
Once a decision is made to disclose information, a clear process should be put in place for how the disclosure should occur. Under the NSW scheme, a disclosure is made in person at a police station or other agreed place to the primary person (i.e. the person in the relationship). Support services are also present when a disclosure is made.
To ensure the person’s safety, the ‘subject’ of the disclosure is not advised that an application or disclosure has been made about them.
Community and expert views are sought on a number of key issues. We are asking you to consider the parameters and processes that should apply to a DVDS in South Australia. This includes who should be able to apply for a disclosure, how someone should apply for a disclosure, whether age limits should be enforced and the factors that should be considered when determining whether a disclosure should be made.