Hopes for North Coast in $60m domestic violence plan

NO DECISION has been made whether high-risk domestic violence reoffenders will be among the state's first tracked by dedicated teams of specially-trained police.

The NSW Government has announced a $60 million package including new regional task forces to target recidivist domestic violence perpetrators.

Each team will comprise a sergeant, six senior constables and an analyst, with two teams to be trialled next year.

If successful, the program will rolled-out to over the next three years until the state's six police regions have all been covered.

A spokeswoman for Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward said police were yet to decide which regions would be first cabs off the rank.

"But it will be based around police data on domestic violence-related assaults," she said.

Latest 2014 data revealed the Coffs-Clarence local area command was in the top 10% of NSW for domestic violence offences.

The spokeswoman revealed the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour council areas would become the latest recipients of the Staying Home Leaving Violence program, which aims to prevent domestic violence victims from becoming homeless by removing perpetrators from the family home.

The Tweed-Byron local area command has also seen a steep rise in reported incidents - especially in Byron, which had a 32.7% increase between October 2012 and September 2014, and Tweed with a 30.6% surge.

But the highest per-capita increases were in the state's west.

Bourke Shire Council had the worst rate of any local government area, with 4721 domestic assaults per 100,000 population in 2014.

The package will increase crisis accommodation support and introduce Australia's first domestic violence disclosure scheme to reveal information about a perpetrator's violent history at their partner's request.

It will be trialled at Oxley, Shoalhaven, Sutherland and St George police local area commands before being extended across the state.

"No one should have to live in fear in their own home," Premier Mike Baird said.

"One of my priorities is to reduce the rate of domestic and family violence reoffending within 12 months by 5% by 2019."

Ms Goward said $19.5 million would be spent on court-enforced behavioural change programs for men and women deemed likely to reoffend.

"More than one in five domestic violence offenders will end up in court convicted of another domestic violence offence within two years. This must change," she said.

"These programs compel offenders to address their entrenched attitudes and behaviours which cause so much pain and trauma to families and our communities.

The model will be developed in consultation with the non-government sector, law enforcement and other groups.

Ms Goward also vowed to fast-track the roll-out of the 24 domestic violence liaison officers as promised before the March election.

NSW Council of Social Service CEO Tracey Howe applauded the government for its moves.

"Last year in New South Wales, 43.9% of assaults were family and domestic violence assaults and one in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner," she said.

"We need a well-resourced range of services to ensure women and children have choice and are well supported when they experience violence.

"This is a good step in the right direction.

-APN NEWSDESK


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