New laws that could save lives

THE NSW Government will introduce legislation this week to establish The Domestic Violence Death Review Team.

This is a special panel of experts with new powers to review the tragic 42 per cent of deaths each year caused by domestic violence and recommend ways to reduce these incidents.

NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos and Minister for Women Jodi McKay said the Keneally Government was providing $500,000 recurrent funding for the project, aimed at identifying improvements in services and systems that will save lives.

“The Domestic Violence Death Review Team will have the power to analyse all deaths relating to domestic violence – not just homicides, but suicides and fatal accidents.

“It will review closed cases where investigative processes have been finalised,” Mr Hatzistergos said.

“This panel of experts will now search for trends or systemic issues that have led to domestic violence deaths and identify how systems or services can be improved to protect people living in fear.”

Mr Hatzistergos and Ms McKay said The Domestic Violence Death Review Team would include representatives from law enforcement, justice, health, social services and non-government agencies.

It will:

be chaired by NSW State Coroner Mary Jerram;

exchange information with similar bodies in other states and territories as well as the NSW Child Death Review Team;

have the power to review closed cases of domestic violence-related deaths in NSW including:

Homicide of a spouse, partner or child, suicides and fatal accidents.

establish and maintain a database of these deaths;

undertake research that aims to prevent and reduce the likelihood of such deaths; and

produce an annual report on their findings.

Ms McKay said around 42 per cent of all homicides in NSW were attributed to some form of domestic violence.

“This is a tragically high number and the government needs to do everything it can to prevent and reduce domestic violence related deaths,” Ms McKay said.

“Ensuring the Review Team has the ability to look at all deaths relating to domestic violence, whether they are suicides or fatal accidents will help reduce this figure.

“Until now these types of associated deaths have not been included in official domestic violence figures – despite the fact they are often caused by domestic violence.”

Ms McKay said the Keneally Government was creating the Domestic Violence Death Review Team following recommendations made by the Domestic Homicide Advisory Panel.



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