NSW Crackdown on Domestic Violence: Police Blitzes and Bail Reforms

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NSW Police

More than 550 people described by police as the state’s ‘most high risk domestic violence offenders’ have been arrested and charged with a total of 1,070 offences during in a four day police operation across New South Wales that ran from Wednesday 15 to Saturday 19 May 2024, including 226 who were already facing domestic violence charges and wanted by authorities.

Police Blitz 

‘Operation Amarok VI’, as the numeral suggests, is not the first blitz on alleged domestic violence offenders. 

The operations are said to act on information compiled by a team of experts who profile the most serious alleged offenders, using analytics to crossmatch both incident response and victim-survivor information. 

The move has been lauded by the mainstream media and domestic violence support groups, who are still reeling from the stabbing of six females at Bondi Shopping Centre in Sydney earlier this month and a sharp rise is domestic violence deaths – with a woman now being killed every four days in Australia as a result of family violence. 

The operation was conducted in the context of frustration that the billions of dollars in expenditure in recent years to address domestic violence-related issues has not borne fruit, with the problem as severe as ever in our nation.

Frontline groups have recognised the need for a cultural shift in what is seen as acceptable in our society, asserting that holding a Royal Commission would be pintless as the underlying issues are well known, well documented and understood. 

Many believe the money would be better spent funding frontline services, particularly in remote and rural areas, targeting indigenous communities, and on education to make it clear such violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. 

Domestic Violence law reform New South Wales 

The police blitz has coincided with legislative changes, with amendments to bail laws expected to pass in the New South Wales State Parliament in the coming days. 

The changes will include making it harder for high-risk offenders to make a successful bail application, as well as mandatory monitoring by way of ankle bracelets of those accused of serious domestic violence offending who are released on bail.

The move is part of a $230 million package aimed at curbing domestic and family violence.

 The changes to bail laws are targeted primarily at those charged with domestic violence-related offences which carry a maximum penalty of 14 or more years in in prison– including sexual assault offences – as well as the lesser offence of coercive control, which will become a crime. from 1 July this year.  

“Show cause” requirement for bail applications

Those who are charged with these offences will need to ‘show cause’ as to why their detention is unjustified, in addition to the regular ‘unacceptable risk test’ that applies to bail applications in our state – a situation that subverts the presumption of innocence.

They will be remanded in custody if the are unable to show cause as well as that they do not pose an unacceptable risk.

Mandatory consideration of domestic violence risk factors 

Those making decisions with regard to bail will also be required to consider a range of risk factors and red flags. 

These include behaviour that is sexually abusive, coercive or violent; stalking or intimidating; behaviour that causes death or injury to an anima land behaviour that is verbally abusive.

Law reform also includes changes which make it  easier to prosecute perpetrators who use tracking and surveillance devices to control victims. 

As has been well-documented, the issue of domestic violence and violence against women are both complex – correlations have been drawn with rising mental health problems and rising violence.

The statistics paint a dire picture 

Figures for the number of adults in custody for domestic violence offences in NSW has also reached its highest on record, according to the latest NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research report.

In New South Wales, police respond to more than 100,000 domestic violence incidents each year. Figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) from the period 2021-22 show that an estimated 1.5 per cent of Australian women aged 18 years and over experienced violence by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months.  

The recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey reported that approximately 1 in 4 women (27%) experienced violence by an intimate partner or family member since the age of 15 years. 

What’s often overlooked is the fact that 1 in 8 men (12%) across Australia also experience violence.  


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Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist, and owner of 'Woman with Words'. She has a strong interest in social justice and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers® content team. Sonia is the winner of the Mondaq Thought Leadership Awards, Spring 2022.

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