In 2015 a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was introduced in New South Wales. This scheme was based on a scheme introduced in the United Kingdom known as “Clare’s Law. The scheme is based on the high rate of recidivism in domestic violence offenders.

The objective of the scheme is to allow people to be aware of whether their current partner has a history of domestic violence, this allows men and women to contact police and become aware of any issues their potential spouse may have.

Under this scheme, a third party is also allowed to inquire to their local police station about a family member’s new spouse if they have concerns for safety.

Some debate has been raised surrounding whether this infringes on privacy rights, however there is an exemption in privacy legislation that allows certain disclosure if it is in the public’s benefit to know, this scheme comes under this exemption.

The scheme is currently being piloted in 4 areas of New South Wales:

  • Oxley (Tamworth region)
  • Shoalhaven (Nowra region)
  • Sutherland (Menai/Engadine/Sutherland region)
  • St George (Kogarah/Hurstville region).

This scheme will likely be used in Penrith, Parramatta and the Hawkesbury by 2020.

Written by Lauren Hitchen 

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