Hundreds of woman bashers targeted, re-arrested, locked up

Repeat domestic violence offenders are being actively targeted and arrested in NSW.
Repeat domestic violence offenders are being actively targeted and arrested in NSW. The Observer

HALF of repeat domestic violence offenders put on intensive police watch lists have been re-arrested under a nine-month, statewide crackdown on brutality in the home.

The Baird Government has given police authority to pre-emptively target serial woman bashers, closely monitoring their movements and waiting for them to commit a crime.

Exactly half of the 642 repeat domestic abusers added to the watch list have been rearrested, charged and taken before the courts since the program was rolled out across New South Wales in February.

Of the 321 alleged offenders re-arrested, 240 were refused bail.

Police Minister Troy Grant said police now had permission to run covert surveillance on recidivist wife-beaters to ensure they did not breach domestic violence orders or break the law in any other way.

"I know from my time in the police force and many other officers' experiences this sad fact - the same homes, the same victims and the same offenders turn up time and time again when police are called out to domestic violence incidents," he said.

"Under Domestic Violence Suspect Management Plans, the suspects won't know when they'll be targeted next.

"It could be at a roadside traffic stop, it could be in a shopping centre car park or it could be a knock on their front door.

"What the suspects will know is that police have an intensive focus on stopping them from causing any more harm or perhaps even taking a life."

Domestic violence remains a huge issue along the state's northern coastline, with abuse rates varying dramatically from one geographical pocket to the next.

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures for the 2015-16 financial year reveal local government areas Ballina, Byron and Tweed shires had relatively stable rates, respectively ranking 113th, 94th and 89th out of the state's 155 LGAs.

Clarence Valley was 58th on the list with 224 domestic violence incidents, or 439 per 100,000 population.

Lismore came in at number 51 with 457 incidents per 100,000 people and Richmond Valley ranked as 36th worst with 561 per 100,000.

Coffs Harbour LGA was one of the worst areas in the state for domestic abuse.

It tallied 470 incidents over the 12 months - or 649 per 100,000 residents - placing it in 27th position.

NSW Police's domestic violence spokesman Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller said the program had shown overwhelmingly positive results.

"In recent years we have prioritised supporting the victims of domestic violence, and while that's important work that will always continue, we wanted to shift our operational focus onto the behaviour of offenders," he said.


Topics:  bashing coffs harbour domestic abuse domestic violence northern rivers police troy grant

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