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NSW: Domestic violence deaths reach 10-year high

24 Nov 2008 2:38 AM

SYDNEY, Nov 24 AAP - The number of NSW women and children killed in domestic disputes has hit a ten-year high, prompting calls from the Ombudsman for an urgent review of the state's legal, policing and community services systems.

Bureau of Crime Statistics figures show there were 29 domestic violence-related murders in NSW last year to June - the highest number in ten years, Fairfax reports.

There were also 27,000 domestic violence-related assaults - 30 per cent of all assaults reported to police.

NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour has called for an urgent review of the state's justice and community services systems, saying many of the deaths may have been preventable.

"You will usually see threats of violence or homicide being made before a death occurs, or find access to weapons, or previous examples of depression,drug or alcohol issues," Mr Barbour said.

"Looking at how they are dealt with, whether they have been properly identified by agencies as signalling greater risk down the track, is very important to preventing these deaths."

Such a review was announced on Sunday by Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hull, while similar reviews in the US, Britain and Canada have led to a drop in deaths, Fairfax says.