New England police say domestic violence rates are increasing

Help available: Aboriginal Liaison Officer William Green and DV Sen Const Lauren Wheeler at the White Ribbon March. Photo Michèle Jedlicka

Help available: Aboriginal Liaison Officer William Green and DV Sen Const Lauren Wheeler at the White Ribbon March. Photo Michèle Jedlicka

Incidents of domestic violence are rising in the New England and local police believe drugs and alcohol are fuelling offences.

From January 1, to October, this year, New England police attended 1744 domestic-related incidents – 48 more than on the same period last year.

Domestic assaults decreased, along with other domestic violence offences, but breaches of apprehended violence orders (AVOs) and incidents of domestic abuse rose this year.

While drugs and alcohol are not to blame in every incident, New England Acting Inspector Matt Crotty said they can escalate the perpetrator’s behaviour.

“Prohibited drugs are associated with a significant number of DV incidents reported to police, and it may not necessarily be the cause, but the intoxication can drive further violent behaviour,” he said.

As the nation marks White Ribbon Day on Friday, Acting Inspector Crotty said the increased abuse figures showed more victims were coming forward, but there was still a long way to go.

“Everyone has a responsibility to report domestic violence, not turn away, regardless if it is family or a stranger in the street,” he said.

”Police are committed to getting the message out to the community that DV is not accepted, it is a public issue and everyone is responsible for reporting DV incidents they know or believe are occurring.”

Acting Inspector Crotty said factors such as mental health, stress, learnt behaviour from family members, cultural influences and also witnessing violence or experiencing it are common causes of domestic abuse.

“And we know that victims sometimes don’t come forward because they’re scared or they fear there will be revenge, or they’re embarrassed, but we as a community have to ensure they feel safe and supported to speak up,” he said.

“Legislation gives police powers to put safety measures in place to protect victims that report DV offences, such as AVOs. And all victims are referred to specialist support services and assisted throughout the court process.”

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