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Key developments

  • NSW Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme Discussion paper
  • Amendments to Binding Financial Agreement provisions in the Family Law Act
  • Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • Review of the Bail Act 2013
  • Lack of judicial resources and Commonwealth budget measures
  • Review of police oversight
  • Proposed amendments to social housing policy and legislation
  • Commonwealth legal assistance funding for community legal centres
  • Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) NSW/ACT funding for the custody notification service
  • NSW Workers Compensation Scheme Benefits Reform

NSW Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme Discussion paper

The NSW Government recently announced that it is developing a model of a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) to pilot in NSW. The model will be based on an initiative introduced in the United Kingdom which enables a person who has concerns about his or her partner to make an application to the NSW Police Force for information on whether the partner has a history of domestic violence.

The NSW Government discussion paper outlined a range of options for implementing the model.

The Criminal Law, Juvenile Justice, Indigenous Issues and Human Rights Committees contributed to a submission in response to the discussion paper. The Committees expressed their support for measures which contribute towards reducing the incidence of domestic violence in the community. They noted, however, that domestic violence is a complex issue that is not easily amenable to simple solutions. Concerns were raised that the discussion paper provided no evidence that individuals who have knowledge of previous offending will in fact choose to leave a relationship.

The Committees’ view is that the goal of preventing domestic violence and keeping victims safe would be better served through directing resources at outreach, awareness and the provision of specialist services that are tailored to the needs of specific groups.

The Committees submitted that implementation of any scheme should be delayed until after the UK model has been evaluated. This would ensure that any scheme implemented in NSW will have been proven to be effective with regard to its intended aim. However, as the Government intends to pilot a DVDS in NSW, the Committees made a number of comments in response to the options and questions outlined in the discussion paper and sought the opportunity to be involved in further consultation once the Government has decided on a model for the scheme.

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