Domestic Violence

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 14:27 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Police questions regarding domestic violence offences data. 

Leave granted. 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: As a White Ribbon Ambassador of some eight years standing, along with the Minister for the Environment and Sustainability and the Hon. John Gazzola, I have long been an advocate for elimination of domestic violence in our state and across the nation. Significant headway has been made in this matter, and I note the commitment of $100 million in the recent federal budget to reduce violence against women and children, building upon the Women's Safety Package, which is currently being implemented by the commonwealth. 

Here in South Australia, the outstanding work of the South-East LSA of SAPOL in reducing the incidence of domestic violence in the South-East also cannot go unmentioned. However, the data showing the number of victims of domestic violence in South Australia and nationally still paints a harrowing picture, and more must be done at all levels of government and across government agencies and in this parliament to finally eradicate these terrible occurrences in society. 

My questions are: firstly, is the police commissioner correct in stating that SAPOL keeps accurate data regarding domestic violence offences; and, secondly, if so, why hasn't this information been provided to the Coroner and to the Social Development Committee of the parliament? 

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:29 ): I thank the honourable member for his question, and I am very supportive and do very much applaud his ongoing efforts and commitment to issues around domestic violence, and also mental health, in South Australia. He is an outstanding advocate for these important causes, and for that I offer my sincere congratulations and commendation. 

I have no reason to doubt the police commissioner in respect of his statements recently made regarding domestic violence and stats collection. I have no reason to doubt that whatsoever and certainly no evidence has been put in front of me that would suggest that SAPOL is not doing exactly as the police commissioner said. 

Regarding the exchange of information, I think SAPOL is an organisation that is proactive in releasing information where it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so. Of course, when releasing stats in the public domain or to other organisations, we need to be making sure that those statistics are hyper accurate. That can take time, I understand; it is not always simple. 

People in the chamber who might be familiar with stats collection over the years would know that, while you may have anecdotal information on the face of it on one hand, it needs to be cross-referenced and checked before that information can be shared, particularly if that information is likely to inform public policy outcomes. I would commend any efforts being undertaken by SAPOL that ensure accuracy of information, even if that means occasional potential delays. 

I understand, as I mentioned earlier, that the police commissioner and the Coroner do enjoy a productive working relationship, and I very much hope that, where it is appropriate to do so, information is being shared between those organisations and government generally, subject, of course, to ensuring accuracy, which is why I understand some things take time.