UNITED IN WAR ON A SCOURGE

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

TOWNSVILLE’S most ex­treme domestic vi­o­lence cases are be­ing tar­geted by a new multi- or­gan­i­sa­tional re­sponse group that is de­vel­op­ing ac­tion plans to man­age ev­ery­thing from the po­lice re­sponse to of­fend­ers to en­sur­ing vic­tims get the sup­port they need.

The Domestic Vi­o­lence In­te­grated Re­sponse Group ( DVIRG) is an in­for­ma­tion­shar­ing body com­pris­ing po­lice, cor­rec­tions staff and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and sup­port ser­vices.

DVIRG meets once a week to dis­cuss “ex­treme cases” of domestic vi­o­lence – in­ci­dents where vic­tims have been sub­jected to chok­ing, sex­ual as­sault, threats to kill or if a weapon has been used – to cre­ate an ac­tion plan that in­cludes com­mu­ni­cat­ing about an of­fender’s move­ments.

The group was formed as a lo­cal re­sponse to the Not Now, Not Ever re­port in 2015.

It is al­ready re­spond­ing to at least four cases every week and is al­ready closely man­ag­ing more than 25 cases about a month af­ter for­ma­tion.

Po­lice statis­tics re­veal there were 2544 breaches of domestic vi­o­lence or­ders ( DVO) in the Townsville po­lice district last fi­nan­cial year, with of­fi­cers called to al­most 3500 domestic vi­o­lence cases.

Com­pared to the much larger South Bris­bane and Gold Coast po­lice dis­tricts, the Townsville district recorded a higher num­ber of DVO breaches and, per capita, more calls for ser­vice when it comes to domestic vi­o­lence.

Townsville Domestic and Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Co- or­di­na­tor Sergeant Elise Feltham said the new level of in­for­ma­tion shar­ing un­der DVIRG had al­ready saved lives.

“The in­for­ma­tion shar­ing came as re­sult of the Not Now, Not Ever re­port and now gov­ern­ment- sup­ported en­ti­ties are working to­gether to achieve the ul­ti­mate re­sult of sav­ing lives,” Sgt Feltham said.

“The change in leg­is­la­tion has now al­lowed us to share lim­ited in­for­ma­tion so that po­lice do be­come aware and can act when safe to do so for the vic­tim, and to hold the per­pe­tra­tor ac­count­able.

“We’ve al­ready had two cases so far where po­lice got the per­pe­tra­tor into cus­tody

I HAVE NO DOUBT WE HAVE SAVED LIVES

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