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Victoria Police and family violence 2009-94.1

26 June 2009



It was early 2002, and Assistant Commissioner Leigh Gassner found himself in an inner-city women’s family violence service getting a severe dressing-down. The workers meeting with him were angry and frustrated at what they saw as a lack of police action on family violence. They cited numerous instances where officers had failed to respond sensitively or adequately to callouts, sometimes with devastating consequences. Gassner knew there were issues but there was also a high level of antagonism. Yet there was hope for change. In late 2001, Police Commissioner Christine Nixon had announced her intention to address family violence and set Gassner the task of improving the police approach and inter-agency co-operation. It soon became obvious to Gassner that this would involve bringing a disparate group of government and non-government agencies together – many for the first time – for a whole-of-government commitment that went well beyond the work of Police.

This case can be used to discuss policy and procedural reform, especially taking a whole-of-government approach. It looks at the powers of different agencies and how they can coordinate, with a particular focus on police. It could also be used to discuss leadership or to discuss policy around family violence.

Authors: Marinella Padula
Published Date: 26 June 2009
Author Institution: ANZSOG
Featured Content Length: 4
Content Length: 10
Product Type: One-part case, Primary resources