Bitten, bashed and backing domestic violence laws

NEW South Wales Deputy Premier Troy Grant has recalled his 22 years in the police force and supported new domestic violence laws allowing authorities to actively target repeat offenders.

A pilot of suspect target management plans in St George was extended statewide on Wednesday.

It gives police a list of perpetrators who are on bail and deemed at risk of re-offending, then allows officers to monitor suspects and wait for them to commit another offence.

The crime need not be domestic violence related or particularly serious.

The St George trial over the past five months resulted in nine out of 13 high-risk offenders being charged, and almost a third being put behind bars.

Mr Grant said police and victims would welcome the new powers.

"For the first time in this state and country's history, we are going after the perpetrators," he said.

"Too often, I used to go call up like Groundhog Day to the same premises, to the same victims of domestic violence who were screaming out for help, and yet were trapped in their circumstances.

"They were trapped where the domestic violence they were exposed to, the outrageous conditions they were supposed to live in, became their norm."

Mr Grant recalled attending a domestic violence call-out at Brewarrina in the state's north in 1992, where a woman opened the door and turned around to reveal a steak knife in her back.

He also spoke of victims assaulting him when he and other police officers tried to help.

"Battered and bruised and tormented and terrorised, they would then turn on us," he said.

"I've even got scars on my body from victims who have bit me as I've tried to arrest the offender.

"Because in their eyes, whilst we were there as their saviours to take care of the crisis at the moment, they knew nothing else other than to portray to the offender that it wasn't them to blame.

"So they acted out against the police.

"Too many times, police like myself were assaulted simply trying to look after the victim.

"Because they were trapped and thought they had no other opportunity to support themselves, to protect themselves and protect their families.

"Those days are over.

"From today across the state of NSW, perpetrators of domestic violence have been put on notice that we are coming after you."

The system has its detractors.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has raised concerns people may be unfairly subjected to harassment, surveillance and victimisation.

The scheme has already been applied to perpetrators of armed robbery and other serious crimes.

"This may lead to a breakdown in relations between police and the individuals concerned," its website states.

"PIAC acts for a young man who was monitored under the suspect target management plan for a period of over two years.

"Our client was stopped and searched in public places, as well as monitored regularly at his home.

"PIAC is concerned that many of the actions taken by police may not have had a lawful basis."

The NSW Government will soon roll out a trial of its domestic violence disclosure scheme that will allow people to check whether their prospective partner has an abusive history.

The first police local area commands off the ranks will be Oxley, Shoalhaven, Sutherland and St George. -APN NEWSDESK



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