Domestic Violence victims urged to seek support at Peace March
GYMPIE people yesterday said a resounding "No" to violence, particularly in the home.
An estimated 300 people marched in Mary St to make the point that our community does not condone or tolerate violence.
"Don't wait 40 years like I did," one applauding spectator called out, as marchers urged the community to take action on the issue now.
Gympie police officer-in-charge Gregg Davey was among the marchers, along with other concerned police.
"We're here to promote a stance against violence in the community. It's totally unacceptable," he said.
He urged victims worried about calling the police to contact any of the non-government organisations offering advocacy and support.
Domestic violence complaints had increased in the past couple of years, but the figures began to turn downwards last year, he said.
"We try to work with the various NGOs that offer people a way out of the violence cycle.
"And we recommend people contact any of them for help, especially if they feel concerned for any reason about contacting police.
"We can come in at any stage, but we don't just want to have a combative role; stopping incidents that are already underway.
"We want to stop it happening in the first place.
"Young people can grow up in this sort of environment and see violence as acceptable behaviour - and it certainly is not," Snr Sgt Davey said.
"It's very important for the community to see that police are against it.
"It's good to see high school students involved and people across the community.
"It's important to remember it is not just the aggrieved and the respondent, but also the children in the relationship that suffer.
"Domestic violence has a huge impact on our resources and reduces our capacity to deal with other issues.
"It has an emotional side and it is not just physical.
"We have to recognise the psychology; the emotional impact and the mental scarring that can occur."
"People can benefit from the help of NGOs in the community, particularly if they are scared to come to the police or worried about what may happen to themselves or their loved ones," Snr Sgt Davey said.
"And we're happy to follow up at a later stage if that's what's required.
"Unfortunately, for the past couple of years there's been an increase in reported domestic violence and breaches of domestic violence orders.
"Luckily in the past year we've had a reduction."
The two online responses to yesterday's Gympie Times editorial on the issue said the violence discussion ignored the plight of men in abusive relationships.
"All the signs are screaming about women and children... What about false complaints and male suicide rates?" said one.