Electronic monitoring of family violence offenders has resulted in the reduction of family violence incidents across Tasmania.
As part of an Australian-first trial which commenced in November 2018, electronic monitoring devices tracked the movements of family violence offenders to ensure they did not enter certain areas where their victim resided or worked.
Victims could opt-in to the trial and be given a small device which would allow them to promptly seek police intervention where there was the potential for a breach of a family violence order.
Preliminary results from the trial showed a 70 per cent reduction in assaults, 80 per cent reduction in threats, 89 per cent decrease in allegations of emotion abuse and 100 per cent decrease in reports of stalking.
It also showed a 7 per cent reduction in family violence incidents across the state and an 82 per cent decrease in high-risk family violence incidents.
Tasmania Police Acting Inspector Felicity Boyd, who is in charge of the unit responsible for delivering the program, said 73 perpetrators and 21 victims had taken part in the trial and its results had been outstanding.
“The effectiveness of electronic monitoring undoubtedly enhances the safety of victims of family violence,” Acting Inspector Boyd said.
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“The project did experience some breaches but we refer to those as technical breaches which involve perpetrators failing to charge their device or failing to stay contactable to the monitoring compliance unit.”
She said the trial had been well-received by victims.
Police Minister Mark Shelton said the trial supported the government’s goal to eliminate family violence.
“Family violence shouldn’t be tolerated in any community,” Mr Shelton said.
The Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies at the University of Tasmania will review the trial and deliver an final report later this year.
Meanwhile, Attorney-General Elise Archer on Thursday tabled a bill in Parliament which seeks to provide the parole board the power to impose electronic monitoring as a condition of an offender’s parole.
Ms Archer said this would enable Community Corrections staff to more effectively monitor offenders to ensure they were complying with the conditions of their parole.
“Parole continues to be a necessary and effective option to reduce the number of offenders in prison and promote rehabilitation and reintegration, while still ensuring the protection of the community,” Ms Archer said.
All other Australian states and the Northern Territory have legislation which provides for electronic monitoring of prisoners who are released on parole.
In Tasmania, the courts already have the power to impose electronic monitoring as condition of a home detention order of a family violence order.
The current act allows the parole board to make a parole order with conditions deemed necessary by the board but it does not contain any specific provisions in relation to electronic monitoring.