What is the role of a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer?

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Continuing on with our research into various family and domestic violence services, we recently chatted to Senior Constable Granton Smith. Based in Orange, he’s a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer for much of Central Western NSW.

“I help people to make reports, act as a conduit between the Police Prosecutor and the person who needs protection, and liaise with various support services,” he says. “I also help people to navigate the court system. Not only are they dealing with trauma, they’re also thrust into this unfamiliar atmosphere of the courts. I provide translations from ‘Legalese’, answer people’s questions about the court process and let them know where their matters are up to.”

Clearly, Snr Const Smith’s role happens after a report is made to Police. A frontline service that helps people experiencing DV in the Central West is Housing Plus. “As well as being able to help with accommodation, they host a referral pathway called Safer Pathways,” he says. “Through Safer Pathways after making a report to police, you will get a call from an appropriate support person, depending on whether you’re a man or a woman, within 24 hours. It’s also not uncommon for a victim of violence to work with someone from Housing Plus for six months or more before the Police become involved. It can give you time to work out the best way forward, including possible exit strategies.”

So, who exactly do you call and when? According to Snr Const Smith, it depends on the urgency of the situation. In a nutshell:

·         If it’s a crisis, call 000.

·         If it’s a situation where your safety isn’t being threatened in that very moment, call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

·         If you want to access the services from Housing Plus in Orange, Bathurst or Mudgee, call 1800 603 300.

·         For more information on Safer Pathways, check out this link.

Photo: Central Western Daily.

Cheryl Fitzell