Domestic violence pushed aside

THE focus on men’s violence towards each other on a night out has distracted people from domestic abuse which cuts across age, race, sex, culture and wealth says Housing Plus chief executive officer Karen Andrews. 

The number of domestic violence related assaults increased in Orange by 7 per cent from 2008 to 2012 and 85 per cent of the incidents happened behind closed doors 

Domestic violence occurred in the home, on the streets, in schools and in the workplace yet little media attention was dedicated to the crime which occurred daily Mrs Andrews said.

One Orange resident, who asked to remain anonymous, recalled her life growing up in a world where the domestic violence was normal. 

“In the process of beating mum, the house would get all smashed up.

“The next morning, we’d wake up and mum will be cleaning and fixing everything up before we got up and she would have a black eye, swollen mouth.”

She said her father was the last to rise and he would walk into the kitchen and act like nothing unusual had happened. 

Mrs Andrews said Orange residents must be careful domestic violence in Orange does not become a silent killer. 

“It is our responsibility as a community to acknowledge domestic violence, open our eyes to it and not condone it. 

“In Orange from October 2012 to September 2013, Orange police made 275 domestic assault charges. This is extremely high for a town our size.”

People who experience domestic violence suffer not only physically but there can be negative social, welfare and legal consequences, Ms Andrews said. 

Housing Plus key programs Operation Courage and the Central West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service assist women who have experienced domestic violence.

Last year Operation Courage assisted 76 distinct clients with domestic violence crisis management, referral and advocacy and provided accommodation for 16 families totalling 1455 bed nights.

In 2013 in Orange, the Central West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service assisted 117 women to obtain apprehended domestic violence orders and made 110 referrals to other services to ensure their other social, welfare and legal needs were met.

Of the total number of domestic violence related assaults in the 12 months prior to September 2013, 35 per cent were alcohol related.

The crime is still largely committed by men and in the same time period 140 were arrested compared to 27 women. 

In the 12 months prior to September 2013 there were 304 victims, 72 per cent were women and 10 per cent were children. 

If you or someone you know may be experiencing domestic violence contact Operation Courage on 6361 1056 or the Central West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service on 6361 3345.

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