Disclosure scheme helping South Australians at risk

More than 100 applications for information about a current or former partner have been made since the state’s Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was implemented, with more than a quarter advised of a partner’s violent past.

Between 2 October last year and 1 February this year, SA Police received 95 applications, with a further 10 received last month – more than double the response reported during a six-month trial of the Scheme in New South Wales in 2017.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said that, of the 95 applications received by February 1, 56 had been accepted for further consideration and six people were assessed at being at imminent risk of harm.

Of those, disclosure meetings were held with 26 people at risk to advise of issues that had been identified with their current or former partner.

Ms Chapman also said 59 per cent of applications concerned a former partner, and 41 per cent involved people seeking information about a current partner.

A total of 66 per cent of applicants were from people who believed they were at risk of domestic violence, with the 34 per cent of applications lodged by a concerned third party.

“Sadly, we have a situation where people are still not feeling safe in their homes, and feel like their lives, or their childrens’ lives, are at risk,” Ms Chapman said.

“The statistics from the first four months show that there is a genuine need for this service, and that it is already helping to make a difference to the lives of many South Australians.”

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme gives individuals who may be at risk the chance to find out if their current, or former partner with whom they have ongoing contact, has a history of violence or violence related offences.

An application may be made by a person who is concerned about their relationship, or a family member, friend or service provider who has concerns about the safety of a 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 decisions about their safety, be given the chance to seek assistance, undertake safety planning, and make informed decisions about their relationship.

Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention, Carolyn Power said that the scheme was helping people across South Australia, with around a quarter of those making applications living in regional areas.

“There is growing awareness of the scheme, and what it can offer people by way of extra support and other services that can be accessed, so I would encourage anyone who feels like they may need assistance to make contact,” Assistant Minister Power said.

“It is pleasing to note that 34 per cent of applications had come from third parties, suggesting family and friends of people at risk were also willing to take action.

“It is important that people who know someone who they believe is at risk feel like they can come forward, in a confidential way, to start the process and get some help or advice,’ 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