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Safety Orders give Police extra tool for families

Police Safety Orders give Police extra tool to keep families safe

Police say new powers that come into effect on Thursday give them more opportunity to make a difference to families suffering violence.

As of July 1 police have the ability to issue a Police Safety Order (PSO) which requires any person who represents a threat to leave the premises for up to five days. It also protects the person at risk by putting in place standard conditions that mirror those in Protection Orders, for the duration of the PSO.

Inspector Brigitte Nimmo, acting National Family Violence Coordinator says Police Safety Orders will allow Police to take action to protect a person despite not being able to charge someone with an offence.

"Often Police attend a job and although we suspect an offence may have been committed, or we believe one may well be committed we are unable to charge a person and take them into custody."

"Now, if faced with these circumstances and an officer believes a person is a danger to their family or partner or children we can issue a PSO effective immediately for a duration of up to 5 days.

"This gives the person at risk including children some breathing room and time for them to meet with Police and other agencies to talk about some solutions for improving their situation."

"In some situations it could save a persons life. It certainly plugs what has been a frustrating gap for Police providing an effective way of intervening in a situation to protect families from violence. "Inspector Nimmo says.

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Last year more than 91,000 family violence incidents and offences were identified. While that figure is alarming, international evidence suggests only 18 percent of family violence is reported. Another 82% goes under the radar, generally increasing in severity and frequency over time.

Victims of family violence are also the victims of our most serious violence. Figures that are recorded show that approximately 30 percent of adult sexual assaults occur in the family home; at least 60 percent of child abuse; 55 percent of serious assaults and 42 percent of all homicides.

"In responding to family violence, we know that holding the offender accountable will not on its own provide a long-term solution to family violence. Underlying causes need to be addressed," Inspector Nimmo says.

PSOs are linked to a range of new initiatives launched today by the Ministry of Justice that have been developed to support victims of crime.

These initiatives support our goal of preventing crime and victimisation, and to provide victims with the high level of service they deserve."


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