‘Enough is enough’
Friday, 2nd May, 2014
By By Nick Gibbs
Domestic violence can affect anybody and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure people feel safe in their own home.
That was the message from a selection of influential figures who met on Wednesday night to discuss the problem in the city.
Reports of domestic violence are disproportionally high in the Far West compared with the rest of NSW, and that is something Lifeline Counsellor Greg Pearce felt was unacceptable.
“We took the oath, what are we doing about it?” he asked of his fellow White Ribbon Ambassadors.
BH police officers Senior Constable Steve Dohnt and Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg said cases of domestic violence took up considerable police resources.
“Our two biggest issues are domestic violence and alcohol-related crime,” DI Stoltenberg said.
“Ten to seventeen per cent of assaults occur in licensed premises - they are not the main problem.”
But he felt that people now were feeling more comfortable about broaching the subject, which was once stayed within the walls of the family home.
“It’s confrontational, it’s emotional but people are getting on the front foot,” DI Stoltenberg said.
SC Dohnt agreed, saying that in the Barrier there were typically between 90 and 105 incidents of domestic violence reported per month.
Encouraging open discussion was something Mr Pearce and Pastor Will Pearson of the Uniting Church said was crucial to stemming the problem.
“If you see it, if you hear it, report it,” Mr Pearce said.
“It’s about helping people to understand it’s not regular behaviour,” he said, referring to those who fell into repeat cycles of abuse.
Consultant Physician Dr Steve Flecknoe-Brown explained that a child’s early exposure to violence was connected to mental health problems and had the potential to set a pattern.
“There definitely is a connection,” he said.
CentaCare Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner Dave Garland said there were support services available locally for victims and reinforced the necessity of working with perpetrators to begin to fix the problem.
Mr Garland said that domestic violence came in many forms and affected all demographics.
Anyone struggling with a domestic violence issue may call the national counselling hotline on 1800 RESPECT (7377328) and speak anonymously.