On the blog: Putting an end to family violence

Matt Craft

Detective Station Sergeant Matt Craft joined the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in 1999 after working with New South Wales (NSW) Police for 10 years. A highlight of Detective Station Sergeant Craft’s career with the NSW Police Force was being a part of general duties at Manly Police Station where he met his wonderful wife. Detective Station Sergeant Craft had always wanted to be a police officer as his dad was a retired Superintendent with a long career in ACT Policing.

Detective Station Sergeant Craft has a broad range of policing experience having worked in a number of areas across the AFP over the past 18 years, including general duties, Criminal Investigations, Judicial Operations, Communications, International People Smuggling, Aviation, Professional Standards and Jervis Bay.

Highlights include being deployed to the Jakarta Centre Law Enforcement Cooperation unit in Indonesia for 12 months, as well as being involved in the cold case homicide investigation of Australian citizen Anthea Bradshaw-Hall in Brunei in 1994. 

Detective Station Sergeant Craft has been awarded a National Police Service Medal, a National Medal, an AFP Service Medal, and an ACT Emergency Medal.

Detective Station Sergeant Craft is currently the Officer-in-Charge of ACT Policing’s Family Violence Coordination Unit (FVCU), and has been since April this year.

In this month’s ACT Policing blog, Detective Station Sergeant Craft talks about his role with the FVCU.

Our role in the FVCU is to support operational police through quality assurance and oversight of all family violence investigations. We also have two Family Violence Order Liaison Officers who work with victims and help them through the family violence order process, and if need be can apply for the orders on behalf of vulnerable victims.

The FVCU also has a Victims of Crime (VOC) team within the unit. The VOC team supports victims of crime through the judicial process. There are 10 Victim Liaison Officers within the team who deal directly with traumatised victims and offenders to arrange the most appropriate support services for the individual.

The FVCU have a long standing relationship with Domestic Violence Crisis Service and work closely with them to meet the needs of victims of family violence in the ACT. They provide a wide range of services for both victims and perpetrators of family violence. 

In May 2016, ACT Policing was the second Australian jurisdiction (after NSW) to introduce the Family Violence Evidence in Chief (FVEIC) into legislation. This came into effect after changes in ACT legislation aimed to reduce trauma caused by victims giving evidence in court, and improve the accuracy of the victim’s evidence. The FVEIC allows the court to see the demeanour and experience of the victim at the time of the incident. For example, the recording can be played in court if required as it is the victim’s primary evidence. As it is taken just after the incident occurs, any injuries or damage to the property is visible. The demeanour of the victim is also evident which is sometimes difficult to get across in a written statement. Most of the time the victims are upset and scared and this is very clear on camera.

FVEIC is aimed at reducing trauma for victims during the court process as they are no longer required to recount their evidence in a court room unless they are cross examined during a full hearing.

We are currently finalising the first review on FVEIC but can say that they have been well received by operational members, the court and victims.

I came into this role after a number of significant changes had been made to standard practice of ACT Policing including FVEIC and Family Violence Risk Assessment Tools. This tool is used by operational members to determine the risk posed by the family violence offender to the victim. Operational members complete this tool with information obtained from the victim and other sources available to them. My role has been to keep the focus on family violence and look at ways of streamlining processes to reduce the workload for front line members.

As of 25 November 2017, family/domestic violence orders issued in any Australian state or territory will be automatically recognised and enforceable nationwide. This initiative, known as the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme, aims to improve the protection of family/domestic violence victims. Individuals no longer need to register a family/domestic violence order in another state or territory for it to be enforceable.

For full details regarding the scheme check out the Courts ACT webpage.

If you or someone you know is a victim of family violence, call the 24 hour crisis line at Domestic Violence Crisis Service on 6280 0900.

In an emergency call Triple Zero (000).

Police are here to help you. Nobody deserves to be a victim of family violence.

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