Epping police will collect digitally recorded statements on their body cameras from victims of family violence as part of a 12-month trial.
The digitally recorded statements, which are also being trialled by Ballarat police, may be used as the victim’s evidence-in-chief in court in a bid to reduce trauma associated with giving evidence in court for victims of family violence.
Twenty officers have so far completed the training and the majority of police officers at Epping and Ballarat will complete the training by early November.
The trial will be evaluated to measure the impact on victims of family violence, police, courts and legal practitioners and on the administration of justice.
Family Violence Command Assistant Commissioner Dean McWhirter said the trial was a step forward in providing better support for victims of family violence.
“We understand it can be a difficult experience for victims to re-live the trauma of family violence incidents when giving evidence in court and we’re hoping to reduce this,” he said.
“The process will work in the same way a traditional written statement does – the victim will have to give informed consent prior to making their statement.”
The use of a digitally recorded statements as evidence-in-chief means victims will not need to detail their experiences in court. But they will still need to attend court to attest to the truthfulness of statements and for cross-examination.
“It is hoped that the digitally recorded evidence will also assist with police investigations and might increase guilty pleas by providing higher-quality evidence in court,” Assistant Commissioner McWhirter said.