Family violence statistics rising

Colac police Sergeant Lisa Hill and Orange Door team leader Pauline Pearce say a new police reporting tool and a forum for health workers on Friday will both help family violence victims in the region.

Colac’s police and family violence services are teaming up to respond to a rise in reported incidents across the region.

Crime statistics show the number of reported family violence incidents in Colac Otway has increased by 9.5 per cent, with 347 incidents in the 12 months to March this year, compared with 317 in March 2017-18.

Meanwhile, the number of family incidents across the shire has climbed more than 22 per cent since 2014-15.

But a new Family Violence Report tool will help police across the region keep victims safer and hold more offenders to account, while a forum on Friday will teach health workers about accessing support through Orange Door, Victoria Police and others.

Colac police family violence liaison officer Sergeant Lisa Hill said the tool would roll out to frontline police, allowing them to complete reports in the field as soon as possible after an incident and make referrals immediately.

“Simply, the completion of the report generates a score that predicts the likelihood of future family violence and severe family violence, and will help determine who should manage the investigation,” Sgt Hill said.

“The highest risk cases will be triaged to the specialist Family Violence Investigation Units, responsible for investigating and managing Victoria’s most serious family violence.”

Family violence is the fastest-growing area in the court system and Sgt Hill said it was common for police in Colac and surrounds to attend multiple family violence incidents on any given shift, with incidents ranging from verbal disputes to serious assaults.

She said police assessed every family violence incident on its own merits and could deal with the matter in a range of ways.

“If someone has been a victim of family violence, first and foremost that person should talk to someone they trust; whether that be a friend, relative, colleague, teacher, support worker or police,” Sgt Hill said.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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