Online Seminar – Through an officer’s lens – the audio-visual recording of domestic violence – Durham University

Date: Thursday, June 27 · 10 – 11am

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In recent years technology has shaped policing practice and strategies, from the tools officers use like body worn cameras and licence plate readers, through to the strategies employed including predictive policing.

Domestic Violence Evidence-in-Chief (DVEC) is the contemporary policing practice of audio-visually recording domestic violence (DV) complainants’ interview-statements as evidence-in chief. It was introduced in NSW to reduce complainant trauma, improve evidence collection, and increase the likelihood of convictions. It has become a primary tool in DV policing in that state.

Since its introduction, DVEC has altered the mode of evidentiary submission. Moreover, it has subsequently been adopted, or is being considered, by other jurisdictions in Australia and overseas. However, there is limited research into this methodology. This paper will consider the results of a study into the perceptions of senior police, prosecutors, frontline officers, and complainants into DVEC.

Findings suggest DVEC as a tool can save time, reduced costs, diminish complainant stress and empower DV complainants. However, this is not always the case. Dependent on a variety of factors the opposite can also be true. In particular, the ownership of the recordings remains contested. These aspects need to be considered alongside the benefits when adopting this innovative methodology.

About the speaker

Dr Helen Simpson holds an Early Career Development Fellowship at University of Wollongong, Australia. Her main areas of research include policing practice, technology assisted law enforcement, and domestic and family violence. She has worked for Charles Sturt and Canberra Universities and prior to that coordinated Indigenous Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD), the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander police entry course. She currently lectures in criminology and social policy. Before entering academia, Helen was a journalist who worked in talkback radio and for television. During that period, she wrote magazine articles and two true crime novels including the best-seller Little Girls Lost (under the pseudonym Helen Reade).

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