NSW Police officers charged with domestic violence-related offences, documents reveal
Some of the charges against police include stalking and intimidation, assault occasioning bodily harm, choking and sexual assault. (ABC News: Margaret Burin)
They swear an oath to keep the peace and uphold the law, but who do you call when the police are behind the violence?
- Another 30 officers were charged with common assault, child sex offences, and malicious damage since October 2016
- Victims with personal connections to the force are often deterred from making complaints, DVNSW chief says
- Police say they take the matter seriously and officers are treated the same as anyone else
Domestic violence-related charges have been laid against 17 NSW police officers since February 2017, according to documents obtained by the ABC under the Government Information (Public Access) Act.
The offences range from stalking and intimidation, to assault occasioning bodily harm, choking, and sexual assault.
Two of the 17 police officers were sergeants, 14 were senior constables, and the rank of one was not identified.
The information obtained by the ABC does not identify how many convictions were recorded or findings made against NSW police officers.
Moo Baulch says domestic violence in regional areas presents extra challenges for victims. (The Drum)
NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said in a statement the reports of alleged domestic violence abuse involving police officers were “very disturbing”.
“I have complete confidence in the force to investigate such allegations thoroughly,” he said.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner for Domestic Violence Mark Jones said in a statement said the matters were taken seriously.
“Allegations of domestic violence against NSW Police employees are taken seriously and where there is a need to prosecute, our employees face the full force of the law, the same as any NSW civilian,” he said.
A further 30 officers were charged with violent offences including common assault, child sex offences, and malicious damage, since October 2016.
Domestic Violence NSW chief Moo Baulch said personal connections to the force could be a major deterrent for victims wanting to report abuse.
“There are a number of groups that don’t go to police for a range of reasons and certainly a particular cohort of them would be partners, wives of people who are serving police officers,” she said.
“Some of them may be in the police force themselves.”
Nine of the 17 officers charged with domestic violence related offences were based in regional areas.
Ms Baulch said domestic violence in the regions came with unique challenges.
“People in regional areas are often incredibly isolated, so you may have to travel 20 kilometres to get to the nearest town to get any kind of support.
“They might think that there are personal connections between their partner and the local area command.
“There are reasons why people fear the police within their local area.”
Of the police officers charged with domestic violence offences across the state, just one was female.
Family and domestic violence support services:
- 1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732
- Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
- Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
- Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114
- Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
The age of those charged ranged from 32 to 55 years, but several reports did not identify the age of the alleged offender.
A code of conduct is signed by police when they join the force, requiring them to uphold the law.
“Unlawful and/or criminal conduct by employees of the NSW Police Force is incompatible with that role and also likely to bring the NSW Police Force into disrepute,” the code of conduct states.
In 2017-18 there were 28,637 incidents of domestic violence reported in NSW according to the NSW Police Force annual report, marking a decline on previous years.