Topic 3: Comprehensive Collection of Data
This is a summary of Topic 3. Download the complete Topic 3 from the Discussion Paper.
There are limitations to the way domestic violence data is currently collected in South Australia. In particular, people are concerned that offences are not accurately identified as being domestic violence, meaning that we cannot easily track and report on domestic violence statistics and the characteristics of perpetrators.
Some people believe the creation of separate domestic violence offences would be a solution to this problem. For example, instead of an offender being charged with ‘aggravated assault’, they would be charged with ‘domestic violence’. It has been suggested that this would allow us to better record the prevalence of domestic violence in our community, based on labelling for statistical and sentencing purposes.
Recent inquiries into domestic and family violence in Queensland and Victoria considered this option and were not satisfied that new offences were necessary to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators to account.
A simple and more direct way would be to ’flag’ or code relevant charges and convictions as being domestic violence. The use of such a flag would ensure a person’s criminal record showed a pattern of behaviour, allowing sentencing to be tailored to the individual. It would also result in better statistical data being collected for the purposes of reporting and funding allocation.
In order to implement this, a definition of a ‘domestic violence offence’ would need to be developed to ensure it covers offences that involve non‑physical behaviour, such as financial and emotional control, as well as offences of physical violence.
We are asking you to consider how domestic violence data should be collected and used. This includes which agencies should be expected to ‘flag’ domestic violence offending, and what behaviour should be included as domestic violence.