56 domestic violence incidents in 3 days: Cops appalled
AN EASTER explosion of extreme domestic violence has appalled police desperate to protect victims and change attackers' behaviour.
Sunshine Coast Vulnerable Persons Unit officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Dave Bradley said there were 56 domestic violence incidents in the district between Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Of those, four were classified as "extreme" levels of physical violence.
"We would (normally) expect that level of violence over two to three weeks," Snr Sgt Bradley said.
The incidents amounted to the worst period of domestic violence cases in a short time space since the unit began in September last year.
It was a cause for concern in the lead-up to more public holiday long weekends.
"We just can't sustain another weekend of violence like that."
All the Easter extreme violence offences were committed by men against women.
One of the victims remained in hospital on Wednesday.
Two of the incidents have resulted in strangulation charges being laid.
They occurred in residential homes and holiday accommodation.
Snr Sgt Bradley said there was plenty of evidence from one of the incidents to suggest nearby holiday-makers would have been able to hear a serious disturbance.
But no one called it in until the damage was done.
"The community has to be a part of this, of shining a light on domestic violence and helping us to identify who needs help and who needs to engage with us to change their behaviour.
"At the end of the day we need the community to step up when they think they are hearing or seeing domestic violence before it escalates.
"We can't respond to domestic violence if we don't know it is happening."
There were 20 breaches of domestic violence orders at the weekend.
The other offences included arguments and low-level violence as well as more serious physical assaults.
Alcohol and extra pressures associated with holidays were common factors.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released on Wednesday showed domestic violence as the leading cause of hospitalised assault for women and girls in Australia in 2013-2014.
Data showed more than half of the assaults against women and girls were were perpetrated by spouses or partners.
Snr Sgt Bradley said all victims of extreme violence at the weekend had been referred to a support agency and plans had been enacted to secure their immediate safety.
He called on victims and perpetrators to reach out for help if they were concerned about the way things were going.
"We would prefer to help before it gets to the point where we have to be intervening," Snr Sgt Bradley said.
"We are not out to arrest everybody.
"If we can help them change their behaviour before it becomes an issue, that is what we want to do."
For 24-hour support phone Queensland's DVConnect on 1800 811 811 or Men's Line on 1800 600 636, NSW's Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
In emergencies call 000.