A more proactive approach to policing can dramatically lower the rates of domestic and family violence, especially the incidence of serious assaults and homicides, a national conference has been told.
The forum, Better Policing, Better Outcomes, heard that a cultural change in how police regard domestic violence has had a positive impact in both Australia and the UK.
More effective victim support and improved evidence gathering as well as a police approach which assumes perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted is changing the way domestic violence is perceived.
Keynote speaker Detective Superintendent Gerry Campbell, from the London Metropolitan Police Service, told the forum that in London's 32 boroughs it was now clear that domestic violence would not be tolerated.
"There has been a culture change but that has been matched by a culture change in society as well," he told ABC Radio National.
Detective Superintendent Wendy Steendam from Victoria Police and Commander Colin Little from Tasmania Police outlined similar changes in their own states.
Commander Little said the Safe At Home program in Tasmania, while still in its early stages, had achieved results similar to those in London.
He told Radio National one of the most important changes was a "pro-arrest strategy".
"If police attend a family violence incident and there is evidence that an offence has occurred, then we will arrest the offender and take the offender to court. That is regardless of the wishes of the victim.
"The victim is no longer the person pursuing the prosecution, it is the police."
The forum was an initiative of the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearing House based at UNSW.
For the full interview visit the ABC Radio National website.
Contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media | 02 9385 8107 | 0424 580 208 | firstname.lastname@example.org