Do­mes­tic as­saults too com­mon but more women seek­ing help

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS -

We can’t have peo­ple sleep­ing in un­safe places, ...one woman was sleep­ing on build­ing sites Jhan Leach

DO­MES­TIC vi­o­lence rates in the Mt Druitt area – in line with statewide fig­ures – have re­mained steady over the past five years but more women are com­ing for­ward seek­ing as­sis­tance.

Women’s shel­ters and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ser­vices re­ported a spike in re­cent months in the num­ber of women seek­ing and find­ing help.

In the Black­town lo­cal gov­ern­ment area, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence re­mains steady, with 1971 recorded of­fences in 2014 and 1948 in 2015. In 2011 there were 1897 recorded in­ci­dences.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence as­sault in­creased slightly in Pen­rith lo­cal gov­ern­ment area, in­clud­ing St Marys, from 1057 in­ci­dents to 1069.

The rate of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence as­saults in Pen­rith and Black­town is higher than the NSW av­er­age.

In Pen­rith it is 1.4 times the NSW ra­tio of as­saults per 100,000 and Black­town 1.5.

The Bureau of Crime Sta­tis­tics and Re­search’s 2015 num­bers show do­mes­tic vi­o­lence as­sault has been an im­mov­able prob­lem for five years.

Pen­rith Women’s Health Cen­tre man­ager Jane Gold said re­cent cam­paigns were re­sult­ing in more women ask­ing for help, even if as­sault rates re­mained too high. “There is the Rosie Batty in­flu­ence, cer­tainly in the last 18 months or so, which has had a pos­i­tive ef­fect that has al­lowed women to come for­ward and seek sup­port,’’ she said.

WASH House Mt Druitt ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Rachel Merton said they were see­ing a huge re­cent in­flux in women reach­ing out.

“We’ve al­ways had re­fer­rals from other sources and po­lice but we are get­ting more women walk­ing in off the street or con­tact­ing us by phone,” she said.

Black­town Women’s and Girl’s Health Cen­tre man­ager Jhan Leach said re­cent cam­paigns were rais­ing aware­ness that peo­ple did not need to stay in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships.

She said the next step was en­sur­ing women had safe places to stay when they left re­la­tion­ships.

“We can’t have peo­ple sleep­ing in un­safe places. We’ve had one woman who was sleep­ing on build­ing sites,’’ she said.

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