The Criminal Procedure Amendment (Domestic Violence Complainants) Act 2014 has come into force, making NSW the first state in Australia to allow video evidence.
The move is just one of the many steps the NSW Government is making to reduce domestic violence. The new Act requires victims to consent to making a video statement.
The move aims to:
- ensure victims and police spend less time in court
- reduce the risk of victims being intimidated to change or withdraw evidence
- save victims and their families having to relive the violence.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said that the changes coupled with improvements to police investigation procedures meant video evidence could be used for the first time as evidence in chief against a person charged with domestic violence offences.
“In NSW courts video statements can replace written statements. This means victims will need to spend significantly less time reliving the trauma of their assault in court, in front of their assailants,” Mr Grant said.
“Police when called to a domestic violence scene will film the victim’s video statement professionally and sensitively, as soon as possible. This will create a strong, timely piece of visual evidence for the courts that will reduce the risks of victims getting pressured by assailants into changing their stories down the track.”
A domestic violence training package is being rolled out across the NSW police force and 600 new video cameras are being distributed to frontline police to support domestic violence video evidence.
The NSW Government is developing a model of a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) to pilot in NSW. Have your say on this scheme.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, ring the Domestic Violence Line for help on 1800 656 463 (TTY 1800 671 442).