Two seek family violence information

Two people living in the Southern district have officially requested historical family violence information on a partner.

The statistics come from official information documents obtained by the Otago Daily Times.

A police spokeswoman would not go into specifics about why the two ‘‘proactive disclosure'' requests were made.

The Family Violence Disclosure Scheme was enacted on December 7 last year for potential victims of family violence, enabling them to obtain information about a partner or potential partner's history of family violence.

Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence response co-ordinator Rob Thomson said it was a valuable tool.

‘‘I think for somebody to use the scheme, they would be seriously worried about their imminent safety,'' Mr Thomson said.

‘‘When you're not sure, it's better to act, rather than someone getting hurt or killed.

‘‘It's the kind of thing that would not be used often, but it has the potential to save someone's life.

‘‘I'm sure it has already saved lives.''

One scenario would be a person worried about a new partner, whom they did not know well and who had a history of violent relationships, Mr Thomson said.

The two people who had used the disclosure scheme had not come through his organisation, he said.

He was surprised more people in Dunedin had not used it.

‘‘We would use it if we have grave and immediate concerns about the person we are working with.

‘‘I'm surprised it hasn't been used more often, as it's a really good tool that can keep people safe.

‘‘If you think there is a risk, then this is the top thing to use.''

In total, 18 requests have been made across the country since the scheme was enacted.

Bay of Plenty has the highest use of the scheme. Five people there have requested information about their partner's history of family violence.

In December, Police Minister Judith Collins said in a statement the Government was working to ensure victims were safer and to change long-standing behaviours and attitudes.

‘‘The improved processes are about providing potential victims and police with another tool to prevent or reduce serious harm from family violence,'' she said.

rhys.chamberlain@odt.co.nz

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