Police adopt DV app
Victoria Police has launched a mobile app to help assess risk in family violence matters.
The app gives officers better questions to ask domestic violence survivors, and helps ascertain the likelihood of the violence escalating within the next 12 months.
The software was developed over two years based on advice from researchers at Swinburne University and Forensicare, as well as family violence survivor and former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty.
Police attend a family violence incident in Victoria about every seven minutes.
They have now been issued iPads and iPhones to allow instant access to the new assessment reports.
The app ranks perpetrators on a scale of one to 15 — the higher the score, the higher the risk.
Assistant Commissioner Family Violence Command Dean McWhirter says the software is an “historic achievement”.
“Put simply, we had to change,” he said.
“We needed to listen and we've done that.”
Ms Batty said things may have been different if there had been a proper risk assessment in her case.
“I would say back then, and you're talking about five years ago, they wouldn't have and they certainly didn't consider my situation to be dangerous. And they had no idea that Luke would be clearly at risk, and nobody did either,” she said.
“I don't think it's going to prevent every single fatality and problem that will occur but it will go a long way towards assessing the red flags.
“With an improved response from the police that were involved, better training for those police officers that were involved, together with a tool like this ... I don't know that it would have saved Luke's life, but there would have been a higher possibility of intervention.
“We do know even if they're not being physically harmed there are still risks that have been minimised, because it hasn't been understood that stalking or choking or financial abuse or any one of these other elements of violence haven't been seen as dangerous,” she said.