Shocking domestic violence stats revealed at public meeting

LOCAL police attend 900 domestic violence calls a year within the Great Lakes area – an average of more than two a day.
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Related:Forster a domestic violence hotspot but no funding…click here

Speaking at a forum on the issue this morning, acting Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command superintendent, detective inspector Peter McKenna, said domestic violence was rated as the number one problem within the command.

“It is talked about every morning, at every briefing. We are constantly reviewing all actions on it,” he said.

Speaking at a forum on the issue this morning, acting Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command superintendent, detective inspector Peter McKenna, said domestic violence was rated as the number one problem within the command.

“We know, if we don’t do our job right, people get killed. If we don’t put in the right resources, the outcome can be catastrophic.”

Detective Inspector McKenna told a group of 120 people gathered at Club Forster that the last four homicides in the Great Lakes were domestic violence related. That is one of the reasons why the police have thrown their support behind a move to have a domestic violence shelter built in the Great Lakes.

Currently, the closest shelter for people fleeing from violence is in Taree. It is often full.

The meeting heard from Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) CEO Annabelle Daniel about the possibilities of creating a shelter locally. The crowd was told it would require a huge amount of local support, as well as fundraising efforts to see it succeed.

Ms Daniel said, judging by the enthusiasm of those in attendance, it could be achieved. She told a cheering crowd she would like to see a centre operational by the end of this year.

Detective Inspector McKenna said the lack of a local shelter for people, primarily women, who were the victims of abuse, meant many stayed with the perpetrator.

“Without a refuge, a place in Forster, it is extraordinarily difficult to break the cycle,” he said.

Well over 100 people attended the forum this morning (April 9) at Club Forster.

“Victims need respite, to get away, to tap into the other services that are available.”

Going to Taree for shelter poses too many problems for many victims, the Forster Neighbourhood Centre’s Trish Wallace said, when there were children enrolled in school, employment and others factors to consider.

The emergency accommodation currently on offer was also problematic, with some based at hotels that offered limited cooking or laundry facilities for families.

Ms Wallace said she was very pleased with the roll-up to the event. There were no seats to be had as people listened to presentations from the police, WCS and the Neighbourhood Centre.

See next week’s Great Lakes Advocate for more.

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