CRG 35/20-21 Police body-worn camera technologies in responses to domestic and family violence: A national study of victim-survivor perspectives and experiences

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been promoted in Australian states and territories and internationally to enhance responses to domestic and family violence (DFV). However, little is known about their utility, benefits and limitations in DFV incidents. Drawing upon the perspectives and experiences of victim-survivors in Australia, this report reveals that BWCs can provide victim-survivors with a sense of safety and security and offer validation of their victimisation. This is achieved by footage capturing and shedding light on how incidents unfolded at the scene and, to some extent, evidence of DFV and its effects. However, victim-survivors in this research highlighted significant problems with how police perceive and respond to victim-survivors at DFV call-outs. Participants critiqued the approach taken by officers when deemed not to be trauma-informed and suggested that BWCs can illuminate existing issues with police procedures, such as the selective use of and potential manipulation and editing of footage. Additionally, participants highlighted that BWCs can be used and exploited by perpetrators as part of their coercive control tactics, which can result in misidentification and criminalisation of victim-survivors. Ultimately, the findings provide support for a strong evidence base to inform and guide the development of police policy and practice, particularly in jurisdictions seeking to review or extend the impact of BWCs in DFV incidents and legal proceedings.