Domestic violence incidents increase, affect middle class

GLADSTONE Police are taking a stand against a disturbing increase in domestic violence in our region.

The number of domestic violence (DV) incidents continued to climb dramatically in the Central region since 2008, and Capricornia District Domestic and Family Violence Co-ordinator Sgt Josephine Griffin said officers were determined to tackle the alarming increase.

"I've been an officer for over 27 years and you see some nightmare cases," Sgt Griffin said.

"You see some women who have been in a violent relationship; they finally get out of it and move straight into another violent relationship."

While domestic violence is often stereotyped as an issue for low socio-economic areas, Sgt Griffin said police were seeing the problem throughout society.

"There is a lot more cases of middle-class domestic violence where one party feels like they can't break out of the situation because of financial reasons, for example they rely on their partner for money, and we're seeing a lot more of that across the board," she said.

"We're really concerned about it (increasing trend) because the rates keep going up and it uses so much of our resources, usually about a minimum of four hours for a single domestic violence incident and it does get very frustrating."

However, police were committed to ending the violence, as it was vital to future generations in the region.

"We see it all the time, the kids become conditioned to the violence and so it continues in the next generation," Sgt Griffin said.

A problem facing police is while they intervene on the home front, court support is not always forthcoming.

"A lot of sentences for domestic violence are only three to four months and unless it's a 12-month or longer sentence there are no rehab courses available to offenders," Sgt Griffin said.

"There should be tougher penalties, especially for physically violent DV offenders, and more access to rehab for shorter sentences."

"We've got to try something different because what's happening now just isn't working."

The violent facts:

  • Reported domestic violence incidents in the Central region have been increasing since 2008
  • This year, the region has already seen 1750 incidents
  • In Gladstone alone, average of 108.3 reported domestic violence offences a year since 2008
  • By July 2013, 114 reported incidents in the Gladstone suburb alone, on track to be the worst year since 2008
  • 2012 was the worst year for the Central region, with 2888 incidents reported

*Data from Queensland Police crime figures