Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News

NSW women and men will be able to check partner's violence history online with disclosure scheme

The proposed extension of a scheme by the NSW government will allow women and men across the state to check if their partner has a history of domestic violence. 

The Right To Know scheme, which was trialled in 2016 at Tamworth, Nowra, St George and Sutherland, will be extended statewide if the Coalition wins the state election.

The two-year pilot from April 2016, which was the first of its kind in Australia, received mixed reviews from community groups, with about 50 people using the service to access information on their partner's past.

The reformed scheme would allow people to call a hotline or use an online portal to request information, unlike the original trial, where people had to attend a police station. 

The program is based on Clare's Law in the UK, which was established following the 2009 murder of Clare Wood by a former partner who had prior assault convictions. 

Deputy Premier and Police Minister Paul Toole said the reformed tool would help keep women safe with the increase in online dating. 

"The dating landscape has shifted considerably since then with more and more people accessing dating apps and dating outside known friendship circles," Mr Toole said.

NSW Women's Safety Minister Natalie Ward said the move would prevent assaults and save lives.

"Our priority is to protect a woman's right to be safe in a relationship," Ms Ward said. 

Domestic violence support group Full Stop Australia said the scheme was a good start but it needed more work. 

"We need to think really clearly about safety considerations for people receiving that information ... if they're using an online portal or a phone, making sure they're not being tracked by the person who is potentially harming them," director Tara Hunter said.

In October 2018, the Law Society of NSW told the government to discontinue the pilot trial. 

"Domestic violence is a complex issue that is not amenable to simple solutions," former law society president Doug Humphreys wrote to the NSW government. 

He said there was a lack of evidence that such schemes were effective and money would be better spent on funding outreach, awareness and specialist services.

In 2017, the QLD Law Reform Commission advised the attorney-general to not implement a disclosure scheme, concluding funds would be better spent on frontline services. 

The reformed scheme would be reviewed after 12 months and would be designed with input from domestic violence organisations. 

The service would also facilitate a referral to domestic violence support services.

The government said privacy controls would be put in place to avoid people making malicious applications.

The scheme can be enacted due to the Domestic Violence Act 2007, which allows information to be shared without the consent of a person if it is believed to prevent a threat to life or health. 

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.