What is the Police Policy Statement around Family Harm?
Family harm is a high priority for Police, focusing around reducing the number and impact of family harm episodes. The strategy focuses around preventing harm and reducing offending and victimization. Police are committed to being prompt, effective, nationally consistent and work with other agencies to achieve this.
Explain the guiding principle - Early intervention.
Recognizing early intervention and taking an eyes wide open approach at all family harm investigations.
Explain the guiding principle - Culturally appropriate.
Provide culturally appropriate solutions. Maori should reflect tikanga.
Explain the guiding principle - Safety. - Must Know
Ensure all parties are made safe and kept safe, particularly victims.
Children are vulnerable and before leaving officers must have no concerns regarding any child’s safety.
Officers must be aware family harm episodes are one of the most dangerous parts of their job and take precautions.
Explain the guiding principle - Collecting risk information.
Collecting specific risk information to enable effective assessment, planning and risk management, to victims and to guide decisions around appropriate actions for offenders.
Explain the guiding principle - Accountability.
Holding predominant aggressors and offenders to account.
Directing offenders into to programs that will stop and prevent harm.
Explain the guiding principle - Working collaboratively.
Be part of a coordinated collaborative multi-agency response.
Provide quality information to multi-agency’s.
Apply active case management principles and processes.
How are Maori represented in family harm?
Maori are over-represented in family harm statistics, both offending and victimization.
When thinking about demographics represented in family harm what is it important to remember?
Family harm can happen to anyone, including occurring in families who are affluent.
All family harm investigations require an open mind.
Define ‘Family violence’?
Family violence is a subset of family harm. Family violence includes physical, sexual or psychological abuse within domestic relationships.
What are the majority of family harm investigations police record?
Intimate partner violence.
In intimate partner violence who is usually the predominant aggressor?
The male party.
How is men’s violence likely to result?
In serious injury and intimidation and fear.
When are woman likely to use violence in a relationship?
In self defense also known as resistive violence.
What is there a high rate of in intimate partner violence?
Child abuse and neglect. It is not necessarily separate forms of violence and an act against one party can be used to increase control over both.
When conducting an investigation and crime scene examination where firearms may be present what must I consider?
Firearms or other weapons.
Whether a PSO or a protection order is in place.
Whether there are sufficient safety concerns to warrant the issuing of a PSO.
If you execute the power to seize, report to the commissioner within three days.
Complete enquirers to determine whether a licensed firearms holder is considered ‘fit and proper’.
If the victim becomes a reluctant witness how can I prove the charge?
Medical examinations and doctors reports.
Photos of injuries.
Scene examination evidence.
When is the best time to interview a victim?
At the time or if not appropriate, at the first possible opportunity.
Although forensic interviews of child abuse victims or child witnesses must be carried out by specially trained child witness interviewers, can I carry out a preliminary interview?
Yes, this is used to identify their role and inform the wider safety assessment.
When deciding to arrest, what must I determine?
Is there sufficient evidence?
Will the tests in the Solicitor-General’s prosecution guidelines be met?
When dealing with family violence offences and breach of protection orders and there is sufficient evidence of an offence, both current and historical, what must I consider?
Protection orders continue to be effective until discharged by a court. Except in exceptional circumstances, the offender should be arrested. This means that actions should still be taken for historical breaches.
Where offending is disclosed and actions other than arrest are contemplated, who must I consult?
You must consult with your supervisor. It is advisable to consult with the family harm coordinator/family harm specialist who may have further information.
Where there is evidence indicating violence by both parties and you are trying to determine if there is a primary aggressor, what must I consider?
I should consider the possibility that some violence may be actions taken in self defense.
Do I need a formal complaint from the victim to arrest or file charges?
No, however their response and wishes should be listened to and noted.
When there is insufficient evidence to arrest but I still have safety concerns what should I consider?
I should consider if it is appropriate to issue a Police Safety Order.
When considering what charge(s) is appropriate what should I cover off?
Do not minimize violence that has occurred.
Ensure a charge reflects the essential nature of their offending.
Ensure that there is sufficient evidence.
Consider any continuing risk to the victim.
What MUST I do with a breach of protection order that meets evidential sufficiency?
I must charge the offender with the breach and not release the offender on Police Bail for 24 hours unless there is a court hearing earlier.
When deciding to grant Police Bail what is the primary consideration?
The safety of the victim and their family members, our ability to link them to support and services, and a cooling off period for the offender.
What happens at the expiry of the 24 hour period following a BoPO arrest?
I should follow standard procedures for determining whether the person should be granted bail. The need to protect the victim is paramount in this.
Who can authorize Police bail for a Family Violence Defendant?
A sergeant or above.
When opposing bail for a BoPO, Section 8(5) of the bail act provides what?
It provides that the need to protect the victim of the alleged offending is of paramount consideration when deciding whether to grant bail.
What happens when a person on EM bail is served a PSO?
They will be unable to remain there for the duration of the order.
What should I do when a person on EM bail is served a PSO?
Follow the ‘EM bailee served with PSO’ procedures in the bail chapter EM Bail - breaches and unsuitable addresses.
Will Victim Support provide support to family violence victims?
Only in regions where there is no viable specialist agency available.