Leg­is­la­tion de­signed to help pro­tect vic­tims CHOKE STATS RAISE ALARM

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMA­HON chris. mcma­hon@ news. com. au

DO­MES­TIC vi­o­lence con­tin­ues to plague Townsville and new data shows more than one vic­tim a week is be­ing choked by their part­ner.

In the last fi­nan­cial year, there were 63 re­ported chok­ing cases in Townsville, but ac­tual in­ci­dents could be much higher, with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence one of the most un­der- re­ported crimes in the state.

Leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced last year to make stran­gu­la­tion an of­fence, with re­search show­ing a large num­ber of of­fend­ers were chok­ing their part­ners.

Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Kev Gu­teridge said the new leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced to pro­tect vic­tims who were at a sig­nif­i­cantly higher risk of be­ing killed when choked.

“Stran­gu­la­tion is a lifethreat­en­ing of­fence. There is no other way to de­scribe it,” Supt Gu­teridge said.

“Even where stran­gu­la­tion does not re­sult in the death of a vic­tim, ev­i­dence sup­ports that the risk of death to vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is mul­ti­plied 800 times where stran­gu­la­tion has pre­vi­ously oc­curred. This presents a stag­ger­ing risk.

“The in­tro­duc­tion of the leg­is­la­tion af­fords po­lice the op­por­tu­nity to in­ves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute of­fences which ul­ti­mately leads to an in­creased pro­tec­tion of vic­tims.”

Chief Supt Gu­teridge said stop­ping do­mes­tic vi­o­lence also re­lied on peo­ple speak­ing up if they saw some­thing out of order.

“Do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence pro­tec­tion al­ways will be a whole- of- com­mu­nity prob­lem and there­fore we need the whole com­mu­nity to work to­gether to ad­dress it,” he said.

“The Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice en­cour­ages ev­ery vic­tim of, or wit­ness to, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence to re­port the matter to po­lice ur­gently.

“Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ev­ery­body’s busi­ness.” is

North Queens­land Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Re­source Ser­vice co- or­di­na­tor Pauline Wood­bridge said chok­ing at­tacks were a big prob­lem.

“We’re hear­ing more in­for­ma­tion from clients about how ‘ he stran­gled me’ or ‘ he tried to break my neck’,” Mrs Wood­bridge said. “One of the is­sues for women is when the vi­o­lence is go­ing on and it in­cludes stran­gu­la­tion or chok­ing, they don’t see it as a sin­gle event, they see it as part of the whole melee.

“You’d re­ally hope that the leg­is­la­tion acts as a de­ter­rent for po­ten­tial of­fend­ers … and the more that per­pe­tra­tors are held ac­count­able, the bet­ter.”

If you or some­one you know is im­pacted by fam­ily vi­o­lence, phone 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT. org. au. In an emer­gency, phone 000.

Picture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

CON­FRONTING: North Queens­land Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Re­source Ser­vice co- or­di­na­tor Pauline Wood­bridge says chok­ing is a ma­jor do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is­sue in Townsville.

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