On May 20, 2014, significant amendments to the NSW Crimes (Domestic & Personal Violence) Act 2007 will come into effect. The amendments have two basic effects on policing domestic violence in NSW:
1. Police will have enhanced powers to direct and detain defendants for the purposes of applying for and serving provisional apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs).
2. Senior police officers will have the power to determine applications for provisional ADVOs. This means that in the majority of cases applications for provisional ADVOs will be made to senior police officers as opposed to
authorised justices from the Central Justice Panel.
Police say that the expected benefits for victims and others include: quick and immediate service of provisional ADVOs, improved enforceability of ADVOs, time and resource savings for police and courts due to the ability to ensure service of provisional ADVOs and increased deterrence to DV offenders.
Direction & Detention: Police will have powers to firstly give a direction to a defendant and if this direction is not complied with then police may detain a defendant at a police station.
Purpose of directions & detention: The purpose of using these powers on a defendant is to control their movements in order to apply for and serve a provisional ADVO. Such control will assist in ensuring the safety of the PINOP (person in need of protection) before, during and after the application process.
When would police use these direction and detention powers? It is expected that they will be utilised when police suspect or believe that a DV offence has occurred or that one is imminent, but do not have sufficient grounds to commence criminal proceedings but are obligated to apply for a provisional ADVO. This may include situations where victims are reluctant to cooperate with a police investigation.
Choice of directions
Police will have 6 alternative options to choose from in directing defendants:
a) To remain at the scene.
b) To remain at another place where police locate the defendant.
c) To go to another place that has been agreed to and remain there.
d) To go to a police station and remain there.
e) To accompany a police officer to a police station and remain there.
f) To accompany a police officer to another place that has been agreed to and remain there or accompany a police officer to another place for the purpose of receiving medical attention and remain there.
We will post further on the changes in NSW as they are introduced.
It's important to note that these changes affect Police ADVOs - personal violence orders will not be affected.