Trial for fam­ily vi­o­lence plan

Pilbara News - - Pilbara | News - Ali­cia Per­era

High rates of fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in the Pil­bara will be the fo­cus of a new pre­ven­tive pro­gram to be tri­alled in sev­eral towns next fi­nan­cial year un­der a Pil­bara district po­lice plan to counter the scourge.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence re­ports have been con­sis­tently ris­ing in the over­all Pil­bara district this fi­nan­cial year and are up about 45 per cent on the same time last year.

How­ever Roe­bourne Po­lice Sta­tion, where of­fi­cers have been us­ing a cus­tomised model fo­cused on early in­ter­ven­tion and close col­lab­o­ra­tion with com­mu­nity agen­cies for about a year, is the only sub-district sta­tion to have recorded a de­crease, prompt­ing Pil­bara District Po­lice to de­velop a pi­lot pro­gram based on that for­mat.

The new pro­gram is planned to be tri­alled in sev­eral Pil­bara towns in com­ing months be­fore pos­si­bly be­ing rolled out in other parts of the re­gion if suc­cess­ful.

Pil­bara district po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Coombes said the pro­gram would be tai­lored to each lo­ca­tion through ev­i­dence-based polic­ing.

He said fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence was a po­lice pri­or­ity in the re­gion and the re­sults of Roe­bourne po­lice’s work held prom­ise for other towns.

Roe­bourne has had a con­sis­tent re­duc­tion in fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence num­bers over the last fi­nan­cial year and is now 8 per per cent down on the same time last year.

In 2016, the sta­tion won a WA Po­lice award for its work coun­ter­ing do­mes­tic as­saults.

Roe­bourne po­lice of­fi­cer-in­charge Se­nior Sergeant Gemma Hen­ni­gan said of­fi­cers had de­vel­oped the model in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Kar­ratha po­lice fam­ily pro­tec­tion co-or­di­na­tor Cindy Mor­gan last May to ad­dress wor­ry­ingly high lev­els of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in their area.

“I wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent out here be­cause our do­mes­tic vi­o­lence was just un­ac­cept­able for our com­mu­nity,” she said.

‘We col­lab­o­rated about what that might be and then we re­searched the is­sue.”

“Though it is more work, it stops more work down the track, so if you can get on top of it be­fore it hap­pens, the bet­ter.”

Is­su­ing po­lice or­ders re­quir­ing the max­i­mum 72-hour sep­a­ra­tion time be­tween vic­tims and per­pe­tra­tors, giv­ing po­lice more time to con­duct fre­quent wel­fare checks and get­ting vic­tims’ help with com­mu­nity ser­vices are the main fea­tures of the Roe­bourne model.

Sen. Sgt Hen­ni­gan wel­comed it be­ing pi­loted in other Pil­bara towns. “I think (res­i­dents) un­der­stand now when we come out that we take do­mes­tic vi­o­lence very se­ri­ously and we’re se­ri­ous about help­ing peo­ple,” she said.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

A do­mes­tic vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion pro­gram led by Roe­bourne’s Se­nior Sergeant Gemma Hen­ni­gan, pic­tured, will be pi­loted in sev­eral other Pil­bara towns.

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