Family and Sexual Violence Involving Police Policy
Supporting victim-survivors and holding offenders to account within Tasmania Police.
The Tasmanian Government is committed to eliminating family and sexual violence within the Community.
Violence against anyone – in any form – is unacceptable, and Tasmania Police is committed to supporting victim-survivors and pursuing offenders, holding them to account and preventing them from further offending.
As such, Tasmania Police is committed to ensuring a pro-intervention response in relation to family and sexual violence matters involving police members.
The Family and Sexual Violence Involving Police Policy has been developed by Tasmania Police’s Professional Standards Command and The Safe Families Coordination Unit to ensure the safety, wellbeing and interests of victims of family and sexual violence involving police.
The Policy provides clear direction for the response, investigation and management of family and sexual violence involving police, as well as the establishment of an independent Review Committee which will ensure the impartial and objective review of all incidents of family and sexual violence involving police.
Tasmanian Police is committed to ensuring the continual improvement of Tasmania Police Policy, procedures and practices where opportunities are identified to address incidents where family and sexual violence involves police members.
Adoption of this Policy will help to promote trust and accountability in the community that the Tasmanian Police response to members who are victims or perpetrators of family violence and sexual violence is fair, appropriate and in accordance with the law.
The Family and Sexual Violence Involving Police Review Committee
A key feature of the Family and Sexual Violence Involving Police Policy is the establishment of the Family and Sexual Violence Involving Police Review Committee (Review Committee).
The Review Committee is the key body within the review structure for family and sexual violence involving Tasmania Police members and has been established to provide assurance to parties of family and sexual violence involving police that such incidents will be reviewed with impartiality.
The Family and Sexual Violence Involving Police Review Committee (the Review Committee) will be led by independent chair Ms Deborah Bailey and comprise of internal and external subject matter experts from Professional Standards, Legal Services, a victim representative/advocate, the Safe Families Coordination Unit advisory members including the Inspector Professional Standards, Sergeant – Police Family Violence Investigator and Wellbeing Support Services.
The Review Committee will be responsible for making timely recommendations and providing advice regarding incidents under investigation and for making recommendations to ensure the continued improvement of attendance, actions and management of these incidents.
Family and Sexual Violence Involving Police Review Committee – Chair and members
Chair – Ms Deborah Bailey
Ms Bailey was recently the Principal Solicitor for the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania and brings with her a wealth of experience including Director of the National Redress Scheme, and Director – Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Ms Bailey also has experience as a family violence counsellor and was a former police officer with Victoria Police.
Review Committee Members
Members of the Review Committee include:
- Commander Professional Standards
- Legal services representative
- Victim representative/advocate
- Safe Families Coordination Unit representative.
Tasmania Police advisors to the committee:
- Inspector Professional Standards
- Police and Sexual Violence Investigator
- Wellbeing Support Services representative.
The function of the Review Committee is to review Tasmania Police attendance, action and management of family and sexual violence incidents involving sworn members of Tasmania Police. It is not a decision-making body.
As the Review Committee is separate from the initial response and actions, it is well placed to review matters in an impartial and objective manner, and is also responsible for making broader recommendations for amendments to Tasmania Police policy, procedures and practices, where opportunities for improvement are identified.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I am a victim of family or sexual violence involving police?
Anyone who is the victim or a witness to family violence should not hesitate to contact police or an assistance service.
All violence is unacceptable, and family violence should not be tolerated. If you hear, see or know of someone who is affected by family violence – or if you are a victim of violence or abuse – please speak up.
If you are a victim of family or sexual violence involving a police officer, we are aware that you may be reluctant to report it, as you may not want your colleagues to be aware of your personal circumstances.
If you do not feel comfortable making a report via the Police Assistance Line or at a local police station, you can make a report through Professional Standards on 6173 2158 or complete a Statement of Complaint and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can contact the Tasmanian Government’s Family Violence Response and Referral Line on 1800 633 937 – which offers an information and referral service through which callers can access the full range of response, counselling, information and other support services.
In an emergency, always call Triple Zero (000).
A list of support services is available from the ‘Support’ section at the bottom of this page.
What happens with reports of past (or historical) incidents involving current members?
The barriers to reporting family and sexual violence can lead to past or historical matters being reported many years after the abuse occurred.
Past or historical matters are those that have not occurred recently – where victim safety is no longer immediately at risk or where an offence no longer falls within statute of limitation timeframes.
Classification of an incident as ‘past’ is at the discretion of the Divisional Inspector/Duty Officer and should also be informed by the present likelihood of the reported behaviour adversely affecting the safety, wellbeing and interests of a party to the family and sexual violence.
Past or historical matters can be reported directly to Professional Standards by phone, email, or written statement. Professional Standards is then responsible for classifying and determining the most appropriate management of the incident.
Links to support services
- The Family Violence Counselling Service (FVCSS)offers professional specialised services to those affected by family and sexual violence. FVCSS works with a range of services across government and the community sector. Contact can be made by calling 1800 608 122 between 9am – midnight weekdays and 4pm – midnight weekends and public holidays. Further information can be found at Family Violence Counselling Service (FVCSS) .
- Engender Equalityalso offers a therapeutic service to anyone in Tasmania who is affected by family violence. Engender Equality has services in Hobart, Launceston and North West Tasmania and contact details can be located at Engender Equality.
- Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS)provides a free and confidential support service for southern Tasmanian people of all ages who have been affected by any form of sexual violence. In the north, north-east and north- west of Tasmania, Laurel House Sexual Assault Support also provides free and confidential support for people affected by Sexual Violence.
- Other service providers in Tasmania include SafeChoiceswhich provides practical support, advice and referral to support services for those people experiencing family and sexual violence. Further information for this program can be found at SafeChoices. Relationships Australia (Tasmania) also provides relationship support services. They are a community-based, not for profit Australian organisation with services with the aim to support all people to achieve positive and respectful relationships.
- On a national level there is a 24 hours, 7 days a week, confidential family and sexual violence information, counselling and support service available through 1800RESPECT(1800 737 732).
- Information on the response to family and sexual violence incidents involving police can be found in the Tasmania Police Manual, available on the Routine Disclosure page of this website at: https://www.police.tas.gov.au/information-disclosure/routine-information-disclosures/
Wellbeing Support Services (Tasmania Police)
Wellbeing Support is available to members (and their families) to assist with support during any experience of family and sexual violence, in addition to the pro-intervention approach.
If you need support, please contact 6173 2873 or email email@example.com at any time.