Warwick police defeating domestic violence
NOT now, not ever. This is the motto for Domestic Violence Protection Month, and Warwick crime prevention officer Wendy Brooks hopes to see become a reality.
While Senior Constable Brooks said increased media and government attention were helping to reduce the scourge of domestic violence, people still needed to be mindful of the cycle the issue could present.
“It takes someone, on average, seven attempts to seek help in a domestic violence situation because it takes a lot of confidence to step out into the unknown, confidence they don’t have,” she said.
“As a police officer I have seen the victim and shown them the pathway to agencies and ensure their safety at the time only to be called in another case a few months down the track.
“We were called once to help a woman whose partner had broken her arm and about a week later we were called back with another violent incident where she was trying to defend herself with her broken arm.
“I’ve seen people seek support and still go back to their abuser.”
Seeing the horrors of domestic abuse on the job, Snr Const Brooks welcomed recent amendments to domestic violence legislation but said there was still a long way to go.
“On May 5, Section 315A was inserted into the criminal code, making strangulation, suffocation or choking in a domestic violence situation a crime with a maximum penalty of seven years,” she said.
“We want to make sure there’s awareness that domestic violence isn’t always the girl with black eye – it’s about a power imbalance in a relationship where one person is suppressing another whether through financial, physical or emotional means or all of the above.
“For people in a domestic violence situation it’s not always black and white, it can be a sense of unhappiness, a sense of fear and inferiority and being controlled than having an instance of physical abuse.”
“It takes time for people to rebuild the confidence to leave and it makes it hard for them to leave, but the focus should never be on ‘why hasn’t she left him?’, or ‘why didn’t they say something?’. It should be on the abuser who is committing the crime of domestic violence.
“It’s the responsibility of friends and family to support the victim and not ask them those questions.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, phone 1800RESPECT, or 000 in an emergency.