9. Police and Family Violence

Recommendation 9–1 State and territory family violence legislation that empowers police to issue protection orders should call these orders ‘safety notices’ or ‘notices’ to distinguish them from court orders.

The legislation should provide that police may only issue safety notices where it is not reasonable or practicable for:

  1. the matter to be immediately heard before a court; or
  2. police to apply to a judicial officer for an order (by telephone or other electronic medium).

The safety notice should act as an application to the court for a protection order and a summons for the person against whom the notice is issued to appear before the court within a short specified time. The notice should expire when the person to whom it is issued appears in court.

Recommendation 9–2 State and territory family violence legislation and/or police codes of practice should impose a duty on police to:

  1. investigate family violence where they believe family violence has been, is being, or is likely to be committed; and
  2. record when they decide not to take further action and their reasons for not taking further action.

Recommendation 9–3 State and territory governments should ensure that support services are in place to assist persons in need of protection to apply for a protection order without involving police. These should include services specifically for:

  1. Indigenous persons; and
  2. persons from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Recommendation 9–4 State and territory family violence legislation should empower police officers, only for the purpose of arranging protection orders, to direct a person who has used family violence to remain at, or go to, a specified place or remain in the company of a specified officer.

Recommendation 9–5 Police should be trained to better identify persons who have used family violence and persons who need to be protected from family violence, and to distinguish one from the other. Guidance should also be included in police codes of practice and guidelines.