Desperate pleas for support by region’s DV victims
A VICTIM of domestic violence who fled a five-year abusive relationship has put out an urgent call for more refuges, legal reforms and awareness to protect those suffering abuse.
The Southern Downs woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the lack of support for victims was putting at risk every person who escaped an abusive environment.
“There’s nowhere near enough in this area to support victims,” she said.
“We need more counselling services, a safe house, more mandatory reporting, and full mental health and risk assessment checks before offenders are allowed back into the community.
“We feel like there’s nowhere we can go or turn to, and I know it’s not safe for me or my kids to go back to (the area where it happened).”
The domestic violence survivor, who said she was verbally, physically and emotionally abused and controlled by her ex-partner, added that the lack of legal penalties and rehabilitation programs did little to break the cycle.
“They don’t get any real punishment – nobody should be allowed to continually do the same thing and get away with it,” she said.
“Not just men, all perpetrators need to be subject to behaviour change programs, because DV does go both ways.
“Social attitudes are a problem too – the disbelief makes you not want to tell your story, because you’re getting judged for what you’ve been through.”
Warwick Safe Haven president Bette Bonney said their volunteer-run committee, who sought to raise funds and awareness for the prevention of domestic violence, said they too were campaigning for more refuges and reform.
“The idea about a locally based rehabilitation program is something that’s really important, and something that we’d like to highlight,” Mrs Bonney said.
“The (Domestic Violence Action Centre) in Toowoomba has a Men’s Behaviour Change program that has been very effective, but something at that more local level would be good to see.”
For the Safe Haven president, the escalating rates of domestic violence during isolation made it more important than ever for the Warwick community to recognise the signs of at-home abuse.
“We have to watch the signs and be aware, don’t sweep it under the rug,” Mrs Bonney said.
“There is domestic violence and abuse happening in our community, for families and across different generations, and it has to stop.
“It is an indictment on our community.”
If you require urgent assistance, phone DVAC’s crisis line on (07) 4642 1354.