Family violence figures reveal ugly trend

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FAMILY violence figures have been collated and publicly released for the first time as part of a push to bring domestic assaults out from behind closed doors.

The Victorian Family Violence Database released last week by the Crime Statistics Agency shows a rise in the number of cases every year from July 2011 until June 2016.

Described by the state government as “lifting the lid on the hidden scourge of family violence”, the database includes figures from Victoria Police, magistrates’ and children’s courts, the departments of Health, Human Services and Justice and Regulation, and Victoria Legal Aid. 

The figures show family incidents recorded by police in Kingston rose from 1104 in 2011-12 to 1496 incidents in 2015-16.

They show the family incident rate per 100,000 people in Kingston rose from 735 in 2011-12 to 954 cases in 2015-16.

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville said family violence was regarded as the state’s number one law and order issue.

She said the database aimed to provide a comprehensive view of the demand for family violence services.

Ms Neville said there had been a “significant increase in reported family violence incidents, as well as an increase in access to support services for victims”.

The release abides by a Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendation, calling on the Crime Statistics Agency to “maintain and develop the Victorian Family Violence Database and consider ways to provide additional data and links between information”.

“The state budget 2017-18 provided $1.91 billion to implement all of the Royal Commission’s recommendations and reform Victoria’s family violence system to support victim-survivors and hold perpetrators to account,” Ms Neville said.

“This will help reform our justice system, establish support and safety hubs for victims and their families, provide after-hours support for women and their children, recruit hundreds more child protection workers, and work to prevent family violence.”

Ms Neville said historically, family violence had been “swept under the rug and hidden from view”.

“This database is an important step forward to make statistics on family violence publicly available. Only through transparency and public discussion will we create change.

“This database means that all the information on family violence – from Victoria Police and the courts – will be in one place.”

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 7 June 2017

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