Remove police perpetrators of domestic and family violence from investigating DVF complaints

Victims of DFV at the hands of a police officer deserve, at the very least, to have their claims handled by a different command to their perpetrator. Today, Abigail gave notice of a motion in Parliament urging the NSW Police Minister to enforce the LECC recommendation to require DFV complaints to be investigated by a Command separate to that of the alleged perpetrator. 

Abigail gave notice of the following motion:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move: 

(1) That this House notes that:

  • according to the Minister for Police, Yasmin Catley, in a Budget Estimates hearing on 23 February 2024, there are currently 57 serving police officers who have been charged with a domestic and family violence offence (DFV), and three serving police officers who have been convicted of a domestic and family violence offence; 
  • according to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) in their report entitled “Review of NSW Police Force responses to domestic and family violence incidents” published in June 2023, 32 percent of domestic and family violence complaints involved police officers themselves as an alleged perpetrator, and of the 60 officers involved in domestic and family violence incidents who were the subject of complaints, 62 per cent of them were subject to an ADVO; 
  • while police officers are at least as likely to commit a DFV offence as the general population, unlike most people police officers spend approximately 40% of their work handling DFV incidents; 
  • police handling and investigating complaints of domestic and family violence against police officers presents an actual and apparent conflict of interest when dealing with domestic and family violence incidents; and 
  • the number of serving officers charged with domestic violence offences is significantly low, as is the number of those found guilty, largely due to the toxic police culture that dissuades victims from reporting DFV and making it incredibly difficult to seek justice, and a common attitude that focuses on the ways reporting abuse could impact the officer’s wellbeing or damage their career instead of on the safety of the victims. 

(2) That this House further notes that:

  • the LECC in the report entitled “Review of NSW Police Force responses to domestic and family violence incidents” published in June 2023 recommended that where a police officer is investigated for domestic or family violence offences, the NSW Police Force Domestic and Family Violence Standard Operating Procedures be amended to specify that the investigation should be transferred to another Command; and 
  • the NSW Auditor-General in their report entitled “Police responses to domestic and family violence” published in April 2022 recommended that the NSW Police review the process for investigating allegations of domestic and family violence against current and former serving police personnel and implement procedures to ensure processes are independent of interested parties and mitigate conflicts of interest. 

(3) That this House calls on the NSW Police Minister to implement the recommendations of both the LECC and the Auditor-General, and take action to urgently require domestic and family violence complaints be investigated by a Command separate to that of the alleged perpetrator.

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