Victoria Police has formed a new team tasked with investigating employees accused of perpetrating family violence.
The Employee Related Family Violence Investigation Team – based within Professional Standards Command – will house 11 specialist investigators.
The first six investigators began work this month with the remainder to sign on for duty in January next year.
The team’s establishment is a major milestone in Victoria Police’s efforts to investigate police accused of perpetrating family violence.
It will also investigate cases where the victim is a Victoria Police employee as well as current and historical allegations of sexual assault.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence had recommended Professional Standards Command review Victoria Police’s policies and procedures relating to police employees and family violence.
Listening to the experiences of victims has also been key in guiding the investigative team’s establishment and broader improvements including a new standalone policy which removes inconsistencies in how cases are handled and ensures there is no special treatment for police.
Taskforce Salus – established in 2014 to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against current or former Victoria Police personnel – has been renamed the Sexual Offence and Family Violence Unit in recognition of the organisation’s resolve to drive down offending within its ranks. The new investigation team operates within this unit.
The team’s nine specialist detectives and two witness support sergeants will investigate the most serious and complex family violence cases involving Victoria Police employees.
For matters being dealt with at a regional level the Sexual Offence and Family Violence Unit will be available to investigators around-the-clock for assistance and advice.
Family violence incidents involving Victoria Police members are treated as complaints against police. This means as well as any criminal investigation, police perpetrators can expect disciplinary proceedings which could result in dismissal.
Specialist support is available to anyone who wishes to make a report about a Victoria Police employee via the Sexual Offence and Family Violence Unitwhich can be contacted on (03) 8335 6700.
Further information regarding reporting options and seeking help is detailed in a newly-compiled guide for victim-survivors of family violence and sexual assault perpetrated by Victoria Police employees.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh, Professional Standards Command
“The establishment of this team means the message is now unequivocal. Victoria Police will not tolerate family violence perpetrated by our employees and the community can be confident we are committed to holding offenders to account.
“It’s important for Victoria Police to develop expertise in dealing with employees who perpetrate family violence so victim-survivors feel safe, positive and supported when they make a report.
“Victoria Police has taken a leadership role in establishing this investigative team – the first of its kind in Australia.
“Our focus is to ensure all victim-survivors of family violence or sexual assault perpetrated by Victoria Police employees have the information and support they need and get the outcomes they desire.”