Don’t suffer in silence, victims told

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
Police car.
Camera IconPolice car. Credit: The West Australian

Mt Barker police say they will be stepping up efforts to tackle family and domestic violence after a series of incidents in the region.

Last year, WA recorded the highest number of family and domestic violence-related homicide offences across the country, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A 49-year-old Mt Barker man was last month charged with aggravated common assault, after allegedly using a lamb chop that was frying on the stove to burn his partner’s face after an argument.

He will face the court in the coming weeks.

On the same weekend, a 56-year-old man was also charged with aggravated common assault after it’s claimed he punched a person in the face, causing bruising and swelling.

He will also face court.

Both were issued with 72-hour police orders, ensuring some safety for the alleged victims while family violence restraining orders were investigated.

Senior Sergeant David Johnson said while it was positive people were reporting incidents to police, were still willing to use violence to settle matters was alarming.

He said community attitudes needed to change to curb these problems.

“If you know of a family member or friend who may be involved in domestic violence incidents, speak out,” he said.

“Tell them it’s not OK.

“If you are a victim, take steps to change your environment.”

Sgt Johnson urged anyone experiencing family or domestic violence not to suffer in silence.

“There are dedicated organisations available to assist you and help you through the process,” Sgt Johnson said.

Attorney-General John Quigley introduced a Family Violence Legislation Reform Bill in State Parliament last week.

The reform package included two new offences — non-fatal strangulation, and persistent family violence — as well as new aggravated penalties for offences which commonly occur in circumstances of family violence.

Amendments have also been proposed to the Restraining Orders Act and Bail Act to enhance victim safety and make it easier for them to obtain protection from violence.

The introduction of serial family violence offender declarations, expanded access to electronic monitoring for offenders and the requirement for police to record every family violence incident were also proposed.

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk said she was working closely with her ministerial colleagues to find ways to stop family domestic violence.

“Of the homicide offences committed in WA last year, family and domestic violence was a factor in 37 of them,” she said.

“These proposed changes respond to our increased understanding of what family and domestic violence is and how it impacts women and children — it is critical that our laws do this for a safer community.”

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