WIMMERA police want residents to acknowledge the variety of family violence issues, following new research.
The latest snapshot into domestic and family violence nationwide revealed that people living in regional areas were 40 per cent more likely to have experienced partner violence than their urban counterparts.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report also noted living in regional areas restricted a victim's ability to leave a violent relationship and to access support from family and police.
Sergeant Matt Olston of Horsham Police's Family Violence Unit said it was common that people needed to be told they were in an abusive relationship.
"Family violence is a dynamic area - it can be controlling behaviours, demeaning comments, if someone earns all the money in a relationship and the spouse has to do certain things to access it, all the way up to the more serious assaults," he said.
Sergeant Olston oversees a team of eight detectives, an analyst and court liaison officer.
He said their focus was on proactively investigating people at high-risk of perpetrating family violence, and that people on their watchlist received the same response if they lived in Horsham, Serviceton or Lake Bolac.
He also said changes to court processes in the past 18 months were helping to improve outcomes for victims.
As of 2017, a person charged with family violence offences must be brought before the court seven days after they are charged and bailed by police, or four weeks after they are charged and summonsed by police.
"It assists people pleading guilty, so it holds offenders to account and shows victims how police and the court take family violence seriously," he said.
"The further removed from the incident, the less likely the perpetrator is to see they are to blame. A lot of support organisations will attend court to engage with the parties involved as well, which helps in the recovery process."
Sergeant Olston said Community Corrections Orders allowed police to mandate behaviour changes for offenders.
Every second Wednesday at Horsham Magistrates' Court is dedicated to hearing family violence matters only.
$100,000 for Horsham crisis accommodation
Derryn Hinch's Justice Party has released more details about funding for Horsham crisis accommodation first revealed in May's state budget.
Upper house MP Stuart Grimley said $80,000 will go towards crisis accommodation upgrades to existing facilities which will be operated by the Wimmera Healthcare Group.
"A further $20,000 has been committed to additional CCTV around the accommodation facility which domestic violence survivor and advocate Simone O'Brien has been calling for over many months," he said.
- If you or anyone you know needs help, contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732.
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