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  1. Perspectives on the inter-relationship between child protection and youth crime Sub Title Presented by Assistant Commissioner Leigh Gassner, Victoria Police AIJA Youth Justice and Child Protection Conference – 3 April, 2006

  2. Aim • Discuss the intersection between policing family violence and child protection • Development of strategies by Victoria Police and Victorian Government • Case study - Victoria Police’s social leadership role in the recently announced investment by the Victorian Government to begin reforming the response to family violence

  3. Increasing Evidence Base • Other Agencies • VicHealth (Victoria’s Health Promotion Agency) study. Intimate partner violence is responsible for more ill-health and premature death in Victorian women under the age of 45 than any other risk factor – including high blood pressure, smoking and obesity. • Australian Institute of criminology - two in five homicides occur between family members. Around 60 per cent of these occur between intimate partners, three-quarters of which involved men killing women. • Access Economics - cost of violence to the economy and determined that it was approximately $8billion dollars per year. Pro-rata likely to be costing Victoria $2b a year (powerful argument to Treasury)

  4. Why participate in the debate concerning family violence? Increasing evidence base • Police Evidence • significant evidence base concerning the incidence, prevalence and harmful effects of violence on women and children. • number of family violence incidents reports submitted by police had increased by 45% over the previous three years. • In 50% of cases, children had been present at the scene • 33-36% were repeat attendances • family violence was a major factor in 52% of substantiated child protection cases.

  5. Increasing Evidence Base • research regarding the harmful effects of living with domestic violence on children and young people • found that witnessing or hearing violence against their mother or siblings has reaching effects on children’s wellbeing • children who witness violence have a greater tendency to accept and legitimise violence, higher levels of aggression, sibling violence and drug and alcohol issues. • education and learning impeded by constant change of environment. • Governments are aware that both economic success and social cohesion depend on almost every young person achieving high standards by the time they leave school. • Sir Michael Barber, McKinsey & Co. (former senior adviser to Blair) • The Age, 23/9/05

  6. Increasing Evidence Base - Children and young people cont… • effects of family violence on children in primary schools can include: • children begin to see violence as a means of conflict resolution • Gender patterns more pronounced • There are difficulties with school-work poor academic performance • There is poor concentration at school • There is poor relations with peers; and • There may be rebellion against adult authority • women and children fleeing family violence almost inevitably subject to financial and social disadvantage • worst cases can lead to homelessness • combined with behaviour problems, homelessness can lead to petty offending. These children can end up as serious offenders

  7. One study found that of the young offenders who had been before the children’s court, 62% had been the subject of or involved in family violence incident reports and 74% had been a missing person at some time. • Preventing children from entering the criminal justice system is a key concern for Police in many jurisdictions

  8. Whole of Government/Community – Set the Scene • 2001 - Victoria Police undertook its first comprehensive review of police responses to violence against women, i.e. family violence and sexual assault • Two of the key recommendations: • development of a Code of Practice for Police to respond to family violence • establishment of two advisory committees, comprised of relevant government and non-government sector representatives, to consider what strategies might be employed to improve police, court and community service responses to family violence and sexual assault.

  9. Summary of police findings released in 2002 coincided with Office of Women’s Policy release of the Women’s Safety Strategy • first whole of Government response to the issue • two Statewide Steering Committees were established - family violence and sexual assault (VicPol and the Office of Women’s Policy co-chairing both committees) • Endorsed by State Cabinet that Victoria Police take a social leadership role • first time that Police had taken a lead role in improving systemic response to the issue. • Growing Victoria Together a Fairer Victoria

  10. Work of the Statewide Steering Committee to Reduce Family Violence • key activity outlined in the terms of reference for the Committee was to provide advice to Government on a multi-agency response to family violence • SSCRFV government and community agencies around one table • challenge for the SSCRFV was to develop a response that could be implemented throughout the entire state of Victoria • Reforming the Family Violence System in Victoria. This document outlined the key principles and elements of a best practice approach to responding to family violence (2005-2006 funding round (ERC) - $35.1 million over four years, Victoria Police, DVC, DOJ, DHS))

  11. Code of Practice • Cultural change/ Police Code of Practice Developed with significant community expertise and input Recent statistics demonstrate the success of the policy with Victoria Police. Compared to FY03/04, FY04/05 statistics demonstrate: • number of intervention orders sought by Police on behalf of victims has increase by 81%. • Breach of intervention orders 17.5% (18.4%) • The number of family violence incidents where Police laid charges increased by 73%; and • the no. of recorded assaults in residential locations increased by almost 30% (26.5%). • Drove demand and pressure on services

  12. Govt. Engagement • influenced the way Government does business in relation to social policy development, both between Government departments and between Government and the community • galvanised the five Ministers responsible for family violence and justice services to take a closer interest in the issue

  13. Thank Youwww.police.vic.gov.auwww.owp.vic.gov.auleigh.gassner@police.vic.gov.au03 9566 9566 – Dee Morris