Wimmera police respond to 893 family violence incidents in a year; new teams to combat issue

WIMMERA police will form new teams to combat family violence.

The teams will start work next month.

Senior Sergeant Brendan Broadbent said the dedicated family violence teams would look at a number of aspects and do case studies and court liaison to support police units at Wimmera stations.

He said family violence was a problem throughout society.

In 2012-13, Wimmera police responded to 893 incidents of family violence.

“Given some of the high-profile murders, it’s really starting to come to the fore that there are people out there who are inflicting violence against women and see it as a norm,” he said. 

Sen Sgt Broadbent said no region was immune.

“From a policing perspective family violence is one of our primary focuses because we go to the family and we’re on the front line,” he said.

“We’re called to an incident where there’s violence or property damage involved.’’

Sen Sgt Broadbent said he expected the numbers to trend downwards when the next statistics were released.

“We basically had a no tolerance approach in the 2012-13 year,” he said.

“We followed up on every incident and as result people were encouraged to come forward and report.

“We’re seeing a trending down in family violence incidents and our figures show that there has been a drop since then.”

Grampians Community Health family violence regional integration co-ordinator Ross Anders said there were specific challenges to reducing family violence in the Wimmera.

He said geographical isolation was a significant barrier.

“It means people are possibly a long way from not only law enforcement, but support agencies which is problematic,” Mr Anders said.

“One of the main tools used in family violence is isolation.”

Mr Anders said the lack of crisis accommodation in the Wimmera was also an issue.

He said smaller communities often had trouble with reporting family violence.

“There are big fears around breaches of confidentiality in small communities because everyone knows everyone else,” Mr Anders said.

Wimmera White Ribbon Committee chairman Justin Amor said given the relatively low population in the region, the number of incidents was significant.

“It seems to be a real issue in our area,” he said. 

“But there’s some great work in reporting violence and the work of the police in responding to those incidents.”

Sen Sgt Broadbent, who is the committee’s deputy chairman, encouraged men to make a stand against family violence.

“We are focusing on opportunities for people to become White Ribbon ambassadors,” he said. 

“We want to have people interested in becoming involved in changing our culture and men’s thinking.”

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