Fight against vi­o­lence beefed up

Shepparton News - - OPINION -

This is the lat­est ar­ti­cle in a se­ries on fam­ily vi­o­lence pub­lished by

The News in the lead-up to White Rib­bon Day on No­vem­ber 23. Here, De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant David Bowler, of the Fam­ily Vi­o­lence In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit at Shep­par­ton, talks about the grow­ing po­lice re­sponse to the se­ri­ous is­sue of fam­ily vi­o­lence.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice has come a long way in de­vel­op­ing our re­sponses to fam­ily vi­o­lence, rais­ing com­mu­nity aware­ness and chal­leng­ing at­ti­tudes sup­port­ing vi­o­lence and we will con­tinue to work hard to en­sure vic­tims feel more com­fort­able in com­ing for­ward to re­port in­ci­dents to po­lice.

We have es­tab­lished an en­hanced in­ves­tiga­tive ap­proach to fam­ily vi­o­lence with the re­cent in­tro­duc­tion of Fam­ily Vi­o­lence In­ves­ti­ga­tion Units.

The FVIUs are made up of ded­i­cated de­tec­tives and in­tel­li­gence prac­ti­tion­ers.

The units will be led by 21 de­tec­tive se­nior sergeants across Vic­to­ria. They started in their roles in July to pro­vide a spe­cial­ist re­sponse to vic­tims of fam­ily vi­o­lence.

The FVIUs have three main func­tions: to un­der­take se­ri­ous and com­plex in­ves­ti­ga­tions; man­age high-risk, com­plex and cold cases; and sup­port gen­eral du­ties po­lice and spe­cial­ist units.

De­ployed across Vic­to­ria, th­ese trained spe­cial­ist in­ves­ti­ga­tors will un­der­stand the com­plex­i­ties of fam­ily vi­o­lence, en­sure ef­fec­tive risk assess­ment, ev­i­dence col­lec­tion and use, and ac­cu­rately iden­tify pri­mary ag­gres­sors.

By 2020, there will be about 230 trained spe­cial­ist in­ves­ti­ga­tors and 32 in­tel­li­gence an­a­lysts de­ployed across the state to sup­port this im­por­tant work in iden­ti­fy­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing high-risk fam­ily vi­o­lence in­ci­dents.

They will fo­cus on the needs of Vic­to­ri­ans fac­ing ad­di­tional vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple, cul­tur­ally and lin­guis­ti­cally di­verse com­mu­ni­ties, les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and in­ter­sex com­mu­ni­ties, young and older peo­ple and peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity.

Vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren is unac­cept­able and pre­ventable.

Vi­o­lence against women is an epi­demic that we have to bring to an end.

We all have a role to play in chang­ing the at­ti­tudes that cre­ate a cul­ture where vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren is triv­i­alised and even en­cour­aged in some in­stances.

We have to en­sure that our chil­dren un­der­stand what it means to have re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ships.

Greater Shep­par­ton had 1463 FV in­ci­dents in the 2017-2018 re­port­ing pe­riod.

The ED3 Fam­ily Vi­o­lence In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit in­cor­po­rate three main LGAs — Greater Shep­par­ton, Mitchell and Be­nalla.

Th­ese LGAs are rep­re­sented in the top 10 of fam­ily vi­o­lence in­ci­dent rates per 100 000 of pop­u­la­tion when com­pared against the other 79 LGA. (CVS 2018)

If you are a vic­tim of fam­ily vi­o­lence, please re­port the mat­ter to your lo­cal po­lice or a spe­cial­ist fam­ily vi­o­lence sup­port agency.

Lo­cally in Shep­par­ton, some of the sup­port ser­vices are Pri­mary Care Con­nect, Vin­cen­tCare’s Mar­ian Com­mu­nity, Rum­balara, Child FIRST, Child Pro­tec­tion, The Bridge, Fam­i­lyCare, and Re­la­tion­ships Aus­tralia.

The po­lice can as­sist you with sup­port and link you in to the rel­e­vant fam­ily vi­o­lence spe­cial­ist ser­vice.

They will be able to en­sure there are ap­pro­pri­ate civil pro­tec­tion or­ders in place and if need be, make ap­pli­ca­tion for th­ese or­ders on your be­half.

The po­lice can also hold the per­pe­tra­tors to ac­count by en­sur­ing that all crim­i­nal in­ci­dents re­lat­ing to fam­ily vi­o­lence are in­ves­ti­gated.

I en­cour­age you all to take the time to have a think and re­flect upon your own be­hav­iour and the way to treat the women in your life. What can you do ev­ery day to pro­mote re­spect to­wards women? Un­der­stand fam­ily vi­o­lence, ed­u­cate your­self on the topic.

Talk about fam­ily vi­o­lence with your friends and chil­dren. If you iden­tify dis­re­spect­ful be­hav­iour, change it. If you see a mate act­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ately don’t be afraid to call them out for their poor be­hav­iour, check your­self and, more im­por­tantly, check on your mates.

If you recog­nise the signs of fam­ily vi­o­lence you will be more aware and can of­fer sup­port.

Don’t be afraid to talk about it. To­gether we can stop vi­o­lence against women and make a dif­fer­ence.

Al­ways re­mem­ber, if some­one is in im­me­di­ate dan­ger, phone 000.

Enough: Vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren is unac­cept­able and pre­ventable.

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