FREE self-defence classes will begin in Gympie in the new year, with one major aim: to empower woman affected by domestic violence.
With 46 private domestic violence applications, 81 police-initiated applications and 87 domestic violence order breaches reported in the Gympie patrol region since July 1, Gympie crime prevention officer, Acting Senior Constable Debbie Wruck, said there was a certified need for the program in Gympie.
She said while the numbers weren't as high as other regions, some cases of domestic violence went unreported to police.
She said the victims of domestic violence, which included both men and women, were often physically and/or mentally abused, degraded and made to feel "the lowest of the low". She said the self-defence program would aim to educate and build the confidence of women - and potentially men - if enough interest was shown.
She said the information women would receive was not designed to teach them to fight, but rather to deflect an offender.
The classes, supported by Gympie police, would run with the assistance of Erin House women's refuge, which would offer the free program to clients.
Acting Snr Cnst Wruck said other female police would be encouraged to attend the classes and Erin House manager Berni Wright said women from other agencies would also be invited.
Ms Wright said the involvement of other women in the class would make for an empowering experience and went against the social isolation that many domestic violence victims endured.
"We always work on the empowerment model," she said.
"When women get together in groups, it's very powerful stuff."
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