An article appeared in today’s Australian newspaper asserting that the police have found no increase in abuse rates. The Assistant Commissioner says “It has been consistent right from the get go. Importantly for us there has been no increase in the more serious assaults.”
That is a surprising statement having regard to the fact that officers made 8,500 visits to the households of perpetrators and victims compared with 4,500 visits for the period last year because of concerns of increased risks.
Women’s Safety NSW contradicts the police position by asserting that referrals to their services have increased by 10% and says “To us that is consistent with our experience of women still experiencing domestic violence behind closed doors but not feeling safe to report it or cooperate with those processes. They were going to extreme lengths to appease their abusers and keep a lid on things.”
With the greatest of respect to the Assistant Commissioner, the statement by Ms Foster reflects our experience in terms of enquiry and the admittedly anecdotal statements of our colleagues.
The reporting of family violence is notoriously difficult to assess. Some victims will wait the situation out until they can leave, others will approach lawyers or doctors for help, while reports to the police might only be made if physical violence is being perpetrated.
Not all family violence is physical.
The deeply personal nature of family violence and cultural or religious issues can also complicate the reporting of violence.
There are resources and supports available for victims of family violence. If you think you are in a family violence situation and don’t know what to do, please contact one of our family lawyers. We will provide you with appropriate advice confidentially and without charge.
Tiyce & Lawyers – We are here when you need us.