More police to fight family violence in Geraldton

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
The 2019 March Against Violence at Geraldton Foreshore.
Camera IconThe 2019 March Against Violence at Geraldton Foreshore. Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

Mid West Gascoyne District Superintendent Roger Beer has assigned two additional police officers to the family violence portfolio to increase the level of police engagement with offenders.

Speaking before the annual March Against Violence last Friday, the region’s top cop said officers would start work in the coming months and tackle domestic abuse from a different perspective.

“Victim support in the past has often been to separate the victim from the offender to protect that victim, which is paramount,” Supt Beer said.

“The reality is, however, that more often than not the victim does not want separation, she/he just wants the violence to stop.

“So we need to do more work with the perpetrators.”

There were more than 3000 reports of violence in the Mid West Gascoyne in the past year. Since July, police have fielded more than 500 reports of family violence.

Meanwhile, only 26.1 per cent of family assault cases have led to a conviction this financial year.

Indigenous Australians were 32 times more likely to be hospitalised from a family violence incident.
Camera IconIndigenous Australians were 32 times more likely to be hospitalised from a family violence incident. Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

Supt Beer said parties to a family violence incident often did not welcome police intervention, making it difficult for officers to obtain adequate evidence to prosecute.

He said repeat offending was prominent and it was difficult to gauge whether more violence was occurring, or whether survivors and community were just feeling more comfortable reporting abuse.

Recently, Supt Beer has been leading a community safety committee which has been examining a perpetrator’s journey from offender to prisoner, to better identify where intervention would be most successful.

According to Supt Beer, the biggest gap in engaging offenders is prior to police involvement.

“This is education and action which identifies and addresses family violence issues before the need for police and/or judicial intervention,” he said.

“Any activity that promotes non-acceptance of violence of any kind is valuable. If we do nothing we are at risk of becoming an increasingly violent society.

“Generational learning which promotes violence and individuals’ propensity to engage in violence is real. Children exposed to violence become desensitised and violence can become the norm.”

Meanwhile, The City of Greater Geraldton will participate in the #16DaysInWA campaign to stop violence against women. City staff will wear orange clothes and Queens Park Theatre will be lit in orange to raise violence awareness until December 10.

If you feel unsafe or would like confidential advice, call WA Police for immediate help on triple-0 or Desert Blue Connect Geraldton on 9964 247.

About 5 per cent of men have experienced emotional abuse from a partner they have lived with.
Camera IconAbout 5 per cent of men have experienced emotional abuse from a partner they have lived with. Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

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