Hid­den toll lurks be­hind head­lines

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

A WOMAN was stabbed and an­other dragged into a car and held against her will dur­ing a hor­rific week of domestic vi­o­lence in Townsville.

Among a raft of in­ci­dents across the city this week, a man was charged with more than 40 domestic vi­o­lence- re­lated of­fences.

Shock­ingly the man, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, was re­leased on bail ear­lier this year, charged with more than 20 of­fences against an­other part­ner.

Po­lice warn there could be many more domestic vi­o­lence in­ci­dents go­ing un­re­ported, with vic­tims too fright­ened to speak out.

Townsville Domestic and Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Co- or­di­na­tor Sergeant Elise Feltham said the hid­den na­ture of the scourge made it hard for the com­mu­nity to un­der­stand the sever­ity of the is­sue.

“Sadly our com­mu­nity are made aware of the se­vere cases of domestic and fam­ily vi­o­lence re­ported by the me­dia,” Sgt Feltham said.

“Of­ten the re­ports re­late to the ex­treme cases which have trag­i­cally re­sulted in the death of vic­tims.

“What is not re­ported on is the end­less cases of vi­o­lence and abuse that oc­cur every day across Queens­land and in­deed Aus­tralia.”

Sgt Feltham said chil­dren were also vic­tims of domestic vi­o­lence in Townsville, with more than 250 ex­posed to the abuse in June alone.

“The home is the place that fam­i­lies should feel the safest, yet sadly in Townsville, as in most other com­mu­ni­ties, this isn’t the case,” she said.

“More than 250 chil­dren in the Townsville com­mu­nity were ex­posed to some sort to domestic and fam­ily vi­o­lence in June 2017, that fig­ure is just dis­turb­ing, es­pe­cially when you think about how that is go­ing to af­fect those chil­dren in the fu­ture.”

Sgt Feltham said the pub­lic needed to stamp out domestic and fam­ily vi­o­lence by not turn­ing a blind eye to vic­tims, while of­fend­ers needed to con­trol their be­hav­iour.

“It is vi­tal that the com­mu­nity ap­pre­ci­ates that domestic and fam­ily vi­o­lence is a crim­i­nal ac­tion, and not just a fam­ily dis­pute.

“There is no one else re­spon­si­ble for the way some­one treats an­other per­son.”

CHRIS McMA­HON

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