Ballarat Police have started trialling the use of body worn cameras to collect digital statements for family violence victims.
The recorded statement can be used as the victim’s evidence-in-chief in court, and aims to help reduce trauma associated with giving evidence in court for victims and assist police investigations by hopefully increasing guilty pleas.
Victoria Police says the process will work in the same way a traditional written statement does with the victim having to give consent prior to making their statement, and officers will still have the option of taking a written statement.
The use of a digitally recorded statement will mean a victim will not need to repeat their experience in court, but they will still need to be present in court to attest to the truthfulness of the statement and for cross-examination.
The trial will run for at least 12 months and will be evaluated to measure the impact of the use of the cameras to capture statements on victims of family violence, police, courts, legal practitioners and on the administration of justice.
20 officers have completed the required training at the Ballarat and Epping stations, with the rest to complete the training by early November.