One call to po­lice could change a life

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

DO­MES­TIC vi­o­lence isn’t about a sin­gle ar­gu­ment with a part­ner – of­ten it’s about con­trol­ling be­hav­iours sus­tained over time.

This is the ex­pe­ri­ence of Sergeant Simon Wal­ter, the do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence co-or­di­na­tor at the Whit­sun­day Po­lice Sta­tion with nine years ex­pe­ri­ence in this field.

Sgt Wal­ter said sta­tis­ti­cally, about 25 per cent of calls to po­lice were con­nected to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, with al­co­hol and drugs a com­mon theme.

“But the text book def­i­ni­tion of the bat­tered wife and the real con­trol­ling be­hav­iour is of­ten a harder thing to de­tect,” he said.

Sgt Wal­ter said signs to watch for in fam­ily mem­bers and friends in­cluded with­drawal from so­cial or fam­ily cir­cles, ver­bal abuse, fi­nan­cial de­pen­dency and hid­den bruises.

He said chang­ing at­ti­tudes across so­ci­ety were mak­ing it eas­ier for vic­tims to speak out “but there’s still a long way to go”.

“It’s al­ways been one of those sub­jects peo­ple don’t want to talk about and it’s a sad thing we wit­ness, es­pe­cially with kids, but when you ac­tu­ally step in and take what’s ba­si­cally a tor­tured life and im­prove it for the bet­ter – that’s part of the re­ward,” he said.

Sgt

Wal­ter’s

ad­vice

to any­one who sus­pects some­one is suf­fer­ing from DV is to re­port it.

“Just that small in­ter­ven- tion of a phone call to po­lice can make a dif­fer­ence and per­haps change a life,” he said.

MAK­ING A DIF­FER­ENCE: Sgt Simon Wal­ter is urg­ing peo­ple who sus­pect some­one is a vic­tim of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence to make the call to po­lice. Photo: Sharon Small­wood

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