Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence higher in Mid West

Geraldton Guardian - - NEWS - Sarah Ison

More than 300 fam­ily as­saults have been re­ported in the Mid West-Gas­goyne Dis­trict in the past three months alone, as new fig­ures show do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is in­creas­ing across the State.

It’s bad news for the whole of WA, but the rate of fam­ily as­sault is sig­nif­i­cantly higher in the Mid West, with a rate more than triple that of the met­ro­pol­i­tan area.

The Mid West recorded a fam­ily as­sault rate of 168.9 per

100,000 peo­ple in Septem­ber this year, com­pared with 44.5 per

100,000 peo­ple in Perth. Re­leased by the WA Po­lice Force on Mon­day, the fig­ures showed some pos­i­tive trends in crimes as well, with bur­glar­ies re­duc­ing across the board, but fam­ily-re­lated of­fences were up

6.8 per cent on the five-year av­er­age Statewide.

Fig­ures show re­ported cases of fam­ily as­saults were on the rise in the Mid West, with 210 recorded in the same quar­ter last year, while 192 as­saults were recorded dur­ing the same time in 2016.

The next high­est num­ber of as­saults recorded this year was 263 in the Jan­uary to March quar­ter.

Ger­ald­ton po­lice Sergeant Jeremy Ash­worth Preece told The Ger­ald­ton Guardian in July last year do­mes­tic vi­o­lence was a big prob­lem in the Mid West with no sin­gle so­lu­tion.

“What we are see­ing in Ger­ald­ton is an in­crease in the level of vi­o­lence when peo­ple are in­tox­i­cated by al­co­hol or drugs,” he said.

“I think part of the prob­lem is some per­pe­tra­tors of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sim­ply think that that’s an ap­pro­pri­ate way to carry on.

“The only way we’re go­ing to get an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is po­lice and other agen­cies and the com­mu­nity work­ing to­gether in part­ner­ship.”

The fig­ures also re­vealed 28 sex­ual of­fences recorded in the re­gion this quar­ter, com­pared with 40 dur­ing the same quar­ter in 2017 and 32 in 2016.mWhen asked about the higher rates of as­sault re­gion­ally, Po­lice Min­is­ter Michelle Roberts said amend­ments to the Re­strain­ing Or­ders Act im­ple­mented by the Gov­ern­ment last year had strength­ened re­sponses to fam­ily vi­o­lence in­ci­dents by po­lice.

“This has led to a greater will­ing­ness of vic­tims to seek help and re­port in­ci­dents,” she said.

“As part of the re­struc­ture of the WA Po­lice Force, Com­mis­sioner Daw­son has in­creased the com­mit­ment to fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence with more of­fi­cers ded­i­cated to tack­ling fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence across Western Aus­tralia.”

While ad­mit­ting do­mes­tic vi­o­lence re­mained an is­sue, Ms Roberts praised the de­crease in bur­glar­ies across the State which fell by 7.5 per cent com­pared to the same quar­ter last year.

This held true lo­cally, with 220 bur­glar­ies recorded be­tween July and Septem­ber this year, down from 474 recorded over the same time pe­riod in 2017 and 363 in 2016.

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