Debbie Platz Chief Superintendent Queensland Police Photo Contributed / APN NewsDesk
Debbie Platz Chief Superintendent Queensland Police Photo Contributed / APN NewsDesk Contributed

Power in your hands to break the cycle of domestic violence

YOU are the most important weapon in the war against domestic violence.

One in three Australian women experience physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse from their partners.

In many cases they are powerless to walk away.

Some stay because they fear for their lives and others will not go because they dread leaving behind their children and their pets.

Throughout APN Australian Regional Media's campaign to end domestic and family violence, there has been one clear message from the experts.

Police, psychologists, academics and welfare workers all agree - if you know it is happening then you need to step up.

Queensland Police Chief Superintendent Debbie Platz said shining the light on family assaults could save lives.

"When you talk to a lot of victims and people in the community, they still feel that domestic violence is something that goes on behind closed doors and is the business of that particular family," the State Government's Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce inter-agency committee police representative said.

"They tend not to get involved - they don't report it and they don't get help.

"Unfortunately domestic violence is one of those things that can escalate and it can continue until somebody breaks the cycle."

>>SIGN THE PETITION TO HELP END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Chief Superintendent Platz urged witnesses to take action.

"It's really important that if you suspect or you know there are offences occurring in a family home that you report that," she said.

"You can report it anonymously through Crime Stoppers, or through the police, or it might be that you simply lend a hand and help with support.

"Sometimes it just needs one person to make that small intervention, which will help."

Northern NSW Region Superintendent Craig Rae said taking the first step was simple.

"The reality of an abusive relationship is it's unlikely to change unless people are prepared to come forward and report it to police so we can then take appropriate action," Superintendent Rae said.

Paul Linossier, the chief executive of national domestic violence change organisation Our Watch, said sometimes all it took was starting a conversation.

"If we see someone behaving inappropriately or speaking inappropriately can we take them aside and say: 'You know I wasn't really comfortable with that behaviour. I reckon we can do better than that - I don't think that's what you want for your daughter'," he said.

Domestic violence academic, Professor Heather Douglas, said the community needed to change the way it thought about women and their roles in relationships.

"Violence against women is about sexism," the University of Queensland criminal law academic said.

"It is gender politics, a lot of the time.

"A lot of the time violence begins with language and the way women are being described and perceived - we need to encourage our friends, our families and our children to call it when they see it and be strong about that.

"We really need to change the way we think about women and women in relationships - and that can start today."

# If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit http://www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, phone 000. 

Help is a phone call away

PICKING up the phone is the best way you can help end the heartache for a domestic violence victim.

If you are concerned for the victim's life your first port of call must be the police.

Officers will visit the victim and start evidence collection and the process for getting a protection order or similar through the local magistrates court.

You can also report anything you see or hear to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

You don't have to give your name and the information will be passed on to police.

Queensland's DVConnect (1800 811 811) and NSW's Domestic Violence Line (1800 656 463) provide around the clock support for victims as does the national counselling service 1800RESPECT.

You can contact any of these services to help get the ball rolling.

Their trained counsellors will let you know what you can do to help and what options are available for victims including emergency accommodation, transport and material aid as well as court processes.

If you are concerned for the victim's life your first port of call must be the police.

 

WHERE TO FIND HELP

New South Wales

Domestic Violence Line: 1800 656 463.

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732.

Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia: 1800 424 017.

Queensland

DVConnect:1800 811 811.

Mensline: 1800 600 636.

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732.

Sexual Assault Helpline: 1800 010 120.



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