THE district police chief has described a worrying increase in reports of domestic violence in the past year.
Officers have responded to 257 more assaults in the 12 months to July 31 – an 11.3 per cent increase Superintendent Allan Adams described as �significant�.
Supt Adams said the rise was unacceptable, but emphasised police had done �a lot of hard work� to identify community members who were repeat victims of violence.
While he made it clear the statistic was concerning, he said it was also a good indication officers were seeking out more reports. �Obviously there�s a degree of difficulty around policing these because they happen behind closed doors generally,� he said.
�But we do a lot of work with our government agency partners in trying to identify those vulnerable people in our community.
�While I don�t look at an increase in domestic violence in a positive way, it does give me a degree of satisfaction that the police are taking it seriously, that they�re out there looking for reports, they�re out there in their community making sure we�ve got as good a knowledge as possible.�
Supt Adams recalled statistics as being �too low� in February. The drop in assaults did not match what he had heard from women�s refuge centres.
�We knew in February that our domestic violence numbers had decreased on the previous year,� he said.
�When you look at the numbers, you think �that�s good�, but I have a very good relationship with a number of our agencies.
�The Pat Giles Centre is a key player. They were telling me that the demand for their services was higher than ever.�
Supt Adams said this indicated to him that there had been some �slippage in the attitude of police officers� towards domestic violence.
A training regime was implemented and the statistics rose quickly.
�This confirmed to me there was a problem at the local policing level in not receiving the reports that needed to be received,� Supt Adams said.
Are you a domestic violence victim?
Pat Giles Centre: 9300 0340
Local police support unit: 9400 0936
Legal Aid: 1300 650 579
Angelhands Inc: 9272 2242