UNITED IN WAR ON A SCOURGE
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