In 2014 there have been changes to the law regarding the way police and other agencies in NSW share your personal information with other agencies in NSW. NSW Government has created a new system for the referral of victims of domestic and family violence to help you access support.
For more information on the system, go here.
If the police attend a domestic violence incident where you are identified as the victim, or if you report a domestic violence incident to a police station, the police will share your details with Victims Services.
If you are female identified, Victims Services will then pass your details on to a local coordination point which should connect you to locally-based support services.
If you are male identified your information will be kept within Victims Services and you will be contacted by a counsellor who will help you find support.
The police should always inform you that they are passing your information on and that you will be contacted by someone within a few days.
If Victims Services or the local coordination point contact you and you do not want them to have your information, you may request that they do not contact you again and you can request that they remove your information from their records. If you are concerned with this process you should contact the Inner City Legal Centre and get advice.
The police will ask you a series of questions designed to assess the level of risk you may be in. Your responses to these questions may be reassessed by the secondary support agency and you might be asked to give more details. If you don’t want to answer these questions you can say so. Based on this risk assessment if it is believed that you are “at serious threat” your case may be sent to a local Safety Action Meeting (SAM).
You won’t attend the meeting but it brings relevant government and non-government agencies together to discuss how they can support your safety. Agencies may include NSW Police Force, Housing NSW, Centrelink, Corrective Services, and Department of Education etc. They will meet and discuss practical solutions for your safety.
You may be able to request that a specialist organisation such as the Inner City Legal Centre’s Safe Relationships Project is part of the meeting to ensure that your needs are understood.
At the time of printing this booklet the new system has not yet been tested so there may be some changes to the way that referrals and support work.
It is always best to seek advice from a specialist LGBTIQ service, such as the Safe Relationships Project and ACON, that understands the system – they can advise you what the process is and help you to connect to mainstream services that are LGBTIQ friendly.