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A new safety scheme, currently being trialled by the New South Wales (NSW) government, will allow individuals to check if their partner has a history of domestic violence in NSW.


The proposed Right to Ask scheme in NSW would enable the police to disclose information to individuals, either over the phone or through an online portal, regarding their partner’s previous history of domestic violence or other violent offenses. Strict privacy controls would be in place to ensure confidentiality, and there would be criminal penalties for any misuse or malicious applications. The service would be accessible in multiple languages and would also provide referrals to domestic violence support services as needed.


According to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, the Right to Ask scheme is modelled after Clare’s Law in the UK and aims to empower individuals who are at risk to make informed decisions based on the disclosed information. Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood, a woman from Yorkshire who was tragically murdered in 2009 by her former partner, a man with a known history of violence that the police were aware of.


Perrottet emphasized that there have been far too many heart-breaking cases where women and men have been seriously injured or killed by partners with a history of prior domestic violence or violent criminal offenses that were unknown to the victims. The Right to Ask scheme aims to address this issue and provide individuals with important information to help them make informed choices about their safety.


  • Prior to the right to ask scheme, there have been various other resources and services available in NSW to support victims of domestic violence, including but not limited to:
  • Domestic Violence Hotline: A 24/7 helpline (1800 656 463) operated by the NSW Domestic Violence Line that provides information, support, and referrals to victims of domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence Court Support Program: A service that provides support to victims of domestic violence who are attending court for related matters, such as apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs) or criminal proceedings.
  • Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs): Legal orders that can be sought by victims of domestic violence to protect themselves and their children from further abuse or harm. ADVOs can include conditions that restrict the abuser’s behaviour and may be issued by the police or the court.
  • Supportive and safety accommodation: Emergency accommodation, refuge services, and transitional housing options for victims of domestic violence who need a safe place to stay.

What is Domestic Violence in NSW?

In NSW, domestic violence is defined under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. According to this act, domestic violence refers to violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a person towards a person with whom they have a domestic relationship. A domestic relationship can include:


    1. Intimate personal relationships, such as a marriage, de facto relationship (including same-sex relationships), or a former spouse or partner.
    2. Family relationships, including between parents and children, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives.
    3. Relationships between people who live or have lived in the same household, such as housemates or boarders.
    4. Relationships involving a caregiver and a care recipient.


Under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007, domestic violence can include various types of behaviour, such as physical assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, intimidation, and emotional or psychological abuse. It can also include property damage, financial abuse, and behaviour that controls or coerces the victim.

Response to Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme in NSW

The response to the proposed safety scheme allowing individuals to check their partner’s history of domestic violence in New South Wales (NSW) has been mixed, with public sentiment being equivocal, as reflected in former President of the Law Society of NSW, Doug Humphreys’ statement that “Domestic violence is a complex issue that is not amenable to simple solutions.


While some see the scheme as a potential way to stay safe when entering into new relationships, there is still limited evidence to suggest its effectiveness. There are also concerns about whether the funds allocated for the scheme could be better directed towards other priorities. In fact, in 2017, the Queensland Law Reform Commission advised against implementing a disclosure scheme, recommending that funds be prioritised for frontline services.


Frontline services, such as emergency accommodation and access to legal and psychological support, are essential for those experiencing domestic violence and are often under-funded. Additionally, there is a need for more focused training for first responders, particularly police, to address identified shortcomings.


Reports, including one by the NSW Auditor-General, have shown that NSW Police has not allocated the same level of resources to address domestic and family violence as other states. Another report by Domestic Violence NSW, the state’s peak body for specialist services, found that a majority of victims felt re-traumatised or humiliated after their interactions with police, instead of feeling supported.

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Recent Cases of Domestic Violence Murders in NSW

Domestic violence is a heinous crime that continues to devastate families and communities in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Despite efforts to combat domestic violence through various initiatives, tragic cases of domestic violence murders still occur. Examples of DV Murders in NSW are;


Olga Edwards and her two children


In July 2018, Olga Edwards and her two teenage children were fatally shot by Olga’s estranged husband in Sydney, NSW. Olga had previously obtained an apprehended violence order (AVO) against her husband, highlighting the limitations and complexities of the legal system in protecting victims of domestic violence.


Sabah Hafiz and her three children


In September 2016, Sabah Hafiz and her three young children were found dead in their home in Sydney, NSW. Sabah had been brutally stabbed to death by her husband, who then took his own life. It was later revealed that Sabah had sought help from police and support services multiple times, but the tragedy could not be prevented.


If you have been charged with domestic violence offence, You should contact our leading avo lawyers in Sydney immediately.


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