Zak Kirkup and the Liberals will commit $3 million to trial and evaluate a specialised Domestic Violence Forensic Unit for victims of family and domestic violence.
Liberal leader Zak Kirkup said the proposal would see a pilot program established with input from relevant Government Departments to assist victims of family and domestic violence.
“This $3 million commitment will allow the trial of a 24-hour free and confidential support service to provide an integrated crisis counselling, medical, and forensic response service to individuals impacted by family and domestic violence,” Mr Kirkup said.
Liberal deputy leader Libby Mettam said that while Western Australia has a Sexual Assault Resource Centre which provides invaluable support to victims of sexual assault, victims of family and domestic violence didn’t have access to specialised forensic services.
“This trial will be linked to domestic violence specialist services, women’s health services, and government agencies including the Health, Police, Communities and Justice Departments,” Mrs Mettam said.
“It would see forensic doctors on call 24/7, preparing legal reports and appearing in court as experts, supported by counsellors and case managers to provide ongoing support to victims.”
Shadow Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Nick Goiran said the service would provide timely, competent and compassionate medical care by drawing on evidence-based best practice.
“Providing forensic services alongside the medical response and by the same clinician has been shown to help minimise the potential for re-traumatisation while collecting forensic evidence to support an investigation or prosecution,” Mr Goiran said.
The justice benefits of establishing a specialised forensic service for family and domestic violence victims across Australia has been associated with improved criminal justice outcomes including enhanced quality of evidence before the courts, increased likelihood of successful convictions, increased offender accountability, and improved safety outcomes.