Tools help Vic police fight stalkers | The standards

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Victorian police are testing a new risk assessment tool for stalking cases where offenses are on the rise in the state. Pursuit crimes increased by 12 percent in Victoria last year compared to the year before. The offense is complex and the level of risk can be difficult to recognize because it is often a series of behaviors. The Stalking and Harassment Tool Screening Assessment – or SASH – aims to help Victoria Police improve how officers identify stalking and protect victims. The trial is the first in Australia and is being conducted at two police stations, Prahran and Morwell, with more than 100 officers and detectives trained to use the tool. SASH helps prioritize investigations, manage risks and prepare safety plans for victims. The tool is currently used in the UK, the Netherlands and Italy and helps police indicate the level of risk to victims of stalking situations outside of domestic violence. Police must consider 16 risk factors when taking a stalking report so officers can assess incidents as low, moderate or high risk. Local investigative units will then take on high-risk cases and oversee moderate-risk cases, with front-line officers handling low-risk cases. “This trial is so important because it will help police better recognize and understand stalking behaviors to improve the safety of victims,” ​​said Lauren Callaway, Assistant Commissioner for Domestic Violence Command. The pilot on will continue until June 2022, before being expanded to include more test sites. Australian Associated Press


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