15 March 2021

Death review to investigate domestic and family violence imminent

| Dominic Giannini
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Comforting a friend

A death review would help build a better picture of where violence occurs, the Coordinator-General of Family Safety said. Photo: File.

A domestic and family violence death review, which will help shine a spotlight on an underreported issue, will come into effect within the next month, the ACT Coordinator-General of Family Safety said.

The review mechanism will investigate individual cases that result in death and near-deaths, suicides, accidents, and other incidents where domestic and family violence are concerned.

It will paint a clearer picture for authorities and help them better respond to domestic and family violence, and build mechanisms to address the issue in the ACT, Coordinator-General Kirsty Windeyer said.

“It is part of the integrated system and integrated response to domestic and family violence in the ACT and it will help us to understand any systemic issues that arise and then to [implement] reform,” she told Committee Hearings earlier this month.

“Once it is established, it is likely that it will have an expert reference group from various places in the community and government with specific expertise.”

READ MORE She escaped with her life, he escaped with a suspended sentence: call for DV sentencing reform

References will be provided to the review from a variety of sources, including the community and ACT authorities, to help address the insidious and clandestine nature of such violence and offence.

It will then be determined whether the incident will form part of the review, Ms Windeyer said.

“It will not specify particular people or organisations who can feed that into the death review, so [references] could be from a member of the community, from the family, from an agency such as the emergency department, schools or the police,” she said.

“At the moment, we are at the stage where we are looking at what the model might look like, and it is anticipated that that will go through to law reform, to legislation, in the next sitting period and that the death review will then be up and established.”

The next ACT sitting week is scheduled for the final week of March.

READ MORE Inconsistent policing of family violence order breaches is reducing trust in the scheme: report

The proposed legislation must pass through Cabinet before being presented to the Legislative Assembly. Region Media understands the legislation is currently being considered by the government, which has indicated that the Bill will be introduced this year.

Support is available through the DVCS 24/7 Crisis Line on 6280 0900 or through 1800 RESPECT.

For more information about domestic violence and coercive control, visit the Domestic Violence Crisis Service.

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