Under a trial of a new Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme which commenced on 2 October 2018, a person who may be at risk of domestic violence is now able to get information about their partner or former partner, to help make decisions about their safety and the future of the relationship.
A request for information can be made by either the person who is feeling unsafe in their relationship or a person concerned about the welfare of someone they know.
Such information might include any convictions the partner or former partner has for relevant offences, any relevant reports made to police and any charges or current and historical intervention orders. This information will be passed on to a specialist domestic and family violence worker, who will contact the applicant to arrange a meeting.
A request for information can be made online or at any local police station. Applicants will be required to undertake not to spread, publish or misuse such information.
It is untested at this stage whether, or to what extent, information disclosed could be used in an affidavit or other evidence seeking an interim or final intervention order. It would appear that possession of such information would constitute a legitimate forensic purpose for the issue a subpoena to Police covering the relevant material, if an applicant seeks to rely upon such information.
When acting for a defendant, it is important to explain that future partners, or third parties on their behalf, may have the ability to access information about current or historical intervention orders under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
The By Lawyers Intervention Orders (SA) Guide has been updated to include commentary on the disclosure scheme and developments as to its application in practice will be monitored.