Sad insight into a cycle of domestic violence
AS DOMESTIC Violence Month draws to a close, thousands of people across Australia still live in abusive domestic situations.
For frontline workers like Sergeant Shane Reid, who has seen domestic violence in every shade of the term, this number is a sad fact of everyday life.
"Everyone refers to domestic violence as male to female but there are situations where it's the female, children, parents and the elderly," he said.
"Every situation is different but you usually hear 'nothing's really happened' and you see the house is smashed or people are upset.
"Victims do tend to downplay what has occurred for a number of reasons."
In 17 years on the job Sgt Reid has seen hundreds of cases; some weighing more heavily than others.
"I was plain clothes at the time and the incident involved a female and her child," he recalled.
"The female was in another violent relationship with a male who was not the father of the child.
"She was reluctant to terminate the relationship but for the child's safety she was given the ultimatum of making him leave or have the child removed."
After giving the woman the option Sgt Reid said he was shocked with the result.
"She said, 'come give mummy a hug' and that was it, she chose the partner," he said.
Though the child was then taken to a safer place, Sgt Reid still wonders about the final outcome of some of the cases he has dealt with and hopes he helped in some way to end the cycle of abuse.
"The hardest step for the victim is to make the decision to remove themselves from the situation," he said.
While there is no easy way to recognise domestic violence at the start of a relationship, he recommends following gut instinct.
"No one goes into a relationship for the purpose of it breaking down one day," he said.
"Watch for early warning signs and gut feelings. If it doesn't feel right then it probably isn't."
For 24-hour family and domestic violence counselling for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737732).
In an emergency call police or ambulance on 000.