Domestic Violence - Mrs Zahra Abrahimzadeh


Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:34): My question is to the Premier in relation to the document tabled by him prior to question time, the Coroner's inquest findings into the death of Mrs Zahra Abrahimzadeh and South Australia Police's responses to the finding, in particular in relation to the Coroner's recommendation 3, that all domestic violence calls to the SAPOL call centre be handled by sworn police officers with particular training in domestic violence risk assessment.

In estimates this year the government provided information that calls relating to 10,000 domestic violence incidents every year are referred to the 13 14 44 call centre. Can the Premier advise how many of the staff in that centre are sworn officers and how many are unsworn officers, given that the government has indicated it is not going to make any changes to the current arrangements?

Mr Whetstone interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Chaffey is warned.

The Hon. J.W. WEATHERILL (CheltenhamPremier) (14:35): That is just a misrepresentation of what we announced. What I just announced, and made clear in a ministerial statement, is that there would be changes to the existing arrangements; it is just that we have responded differently to the recommendations made by the Coroner than how he suggested. We are addressing the question he raises, but in a different way.

There were two recommendations that we have responded to in a slightly different way than the manner he suggested. One was not having sworn officers who are entirely in the call centre; in other words, removing all civilian officers and having only sworn officers in the call centre. We have not accepted that recommendation. It is worth observing that every other jurisdiction follows the same practice of having properly trained civilian officers but supervised by sworn officers.

The particular issue that was at stake here was a call by a domestic violence service to the call centre that, in the view of the domestic violence service, did not get an adequate response. What we have done is supplement the call centre with a further hotline for services that they can call where they are concerned about the adequacy of the service response. That is directly linked into the Multi-Agency Protection Service (MAPS), which can get a real-time response where there appears to be a service failure.

This is in addition to all the other mechanisms that exist for people to get assistance where there has been a service failure. This is a real-time response, and it is in addition to the 000 service that people can call for an emergency response. What we are talking about here is a service system response. We have looked carefully at what the Coroner has recommended. We think what he has recommended is impractical, and we have looked carefully at the issue he is seeking to address and have tried to address it in a different way.

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:38): A supplementary question: given that the response tabled by the Premier does identify what he describes as, I think, an escalation point, and the staffing arrangements in the call centres with sworn staff supervising unsworn call centre people on the telephones, in addition to my initial question of how many sworn staff and how many unsworn staff are in these areas, I ask the Premier how many unsworn staff are being supervised at any one time by the sworn officer in this case, in particular in relation to the coronial findings on the call in question, given that that triage was inappropriately handled by an unsworn staff member?

Ms Chapman interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The deputy leader is called to order.

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (LightMinister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (14:39): I thank the honourable member for the question. Unfortunately, I do not have those exact details before me, but what I can say is that the call centre is not a huge centre, of course. The supervisor there is available all the time, and they can actually listen in to discussions. As I understand it, from what I have been advised, if ever a doubt arises a supervisor will be present to take a call and assist. So there are sufficient supervisors involved to handle any situation.