AAP 27 November 2008
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Victims of domestic violence in New South Wales will be protected by streamlined laws giving police extra powers to arrest suspects, the State Government says.
Police Minister Tony Kelly said new procedures aimed to hold perpetrators of domestic violence to account, while providing better protection for victims and children.
"From now on if the police go to a domestic violence incident … it is the duty of the police officer now to arrest the offender," he said.
"In the past it has been up to the victim to lay charges, so no longer does the victim have to lay charges. Police will automatically lay those charges themselves."
Domestic violence-related incidents accounted for up to 35 per cent of police work across NSW, Superintendent Rodney Smith said.
With the new legislation comes domestic violence kits, including a still and video camera, which will be standard equipment in every police vehicle.
"There is a fear factor where a number of victims are not game to lay charges, not game to make that process (happen) themselves and initiate that process because they are concerned with further domestic violence," Mr Kelly said.
"Now it's taken out of their hands. If police believe there has been a domestic violence incident they will arrest the culprit."
"They will also automatically … even though the children may not have been involved, take the names of any children in the family and they will be automatically given to DoCS (the Department of Community Services)."
The changes come into effect today.