Nation-leading plan for domestic violence offender register
Abusers who commit domestic violence offences could be tracked on a central register, similar to sex offenders, under a nation-leading idea being considered for South Australia.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has asked her department to "explore the option" of introducing a domestic violence offenders register in SA.
She says it would be the first of its kind in Australia.
The move follows three domestic violence murders that left the nation reeling last month, including the death of nine-month-old Kobi Shepherdson in Adelaide.
"For things to change, we have to change," Ms Chapman told The Advertiser.
"A register of this kind does not currently exist in Australia however I am willing, at the very least, to explore the option.
"Women cannot continue to suffer at the hands of their partners.
"This government is committed to considering and investigating every possible initiative which may bring an end to the prevalence of domestic and family violence."
Ms Chapman is expected to outline a series of proposed reforms to address domestic violence in State Parliament this afternoon.
She has stressed that the register she is investigating is in the very early stages of consideration, but it is understood it would most likely be managed by police.
It is unlikely that details of the list would be made public.
Latest data shows 2400 defendants faced court on at least one domestic violence offence in SA last financial year, including 1400 who were found guilty.
In 2007, laws were passed to create a national register of sex offenders, which currently features more than 2150 convicted South Australians who are being monitored by police.
There are several classes of offenders, who may remain on the register for eight or 15 years or, in serious cases, for life.
They are subject to strict conditions such as bans on travel, social media use or the location of their workplace or home and police have powers to conduct checks.
Breaches can attract a fine of up to $25,000 or five years in jail.
South Australian frontline domestic violence services currently operate a central database of abusers, compiled from names given by victims seeking help.
However, the 6200 mostly men on that list may not have been charged or convicted of an offence and are not necessarily on the radar of police.
Frontline workers can check the register to assess a victim's risk but cannot make any names public.
The Advertiser has launched the Not One More campaign this week to lobby for changes to better protect victims of domestic violence.
On Sunday the campaign revealed Ms Chapman is considering a scheme which would compel police to warn people who they suspect are at risk of domestic violence through a "right to know" model which currently operates in the UK and Canada.
Ms Chapman is also willing to consider changes to the Intervention Order Act which would mean abusers who are restricted by court orders meant to keep them away from their victims could be more closely monitored.
The Opposition has legislation before Parliament to impose tougher penalties on abusers who breach conditions of those orders.
Both the government and opposition have now flagged support for introducing laws which would make controlling tactics in a relationship - known as coercive control - an offence in SA.
Originally published as SA's nation-leading plan for DV offender register