More needs to be done: drop in domestic violence rates deceptive

STILL A BIG ISSUE: White Ribbon will continue to lobby and fundraise for services for domestic violence figures.
STILL A BIG ISSUE: White Ribbon will continue to lobby and fundraise for services for domestic violence figures.

THE number of charges for domestic assaults in the city is trending down, but Orange’s primary lobbying group for the provision of services for victims say there is more to be done.

According to data published by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Orange is ranked 30th out of 139 NSW local government areas for the number of domestic violence-related assaults, with 254 recorded incidents in 2016.

Those numbers represent a significant fall from the 2013 figures, when the city was ranked 14th in the state with 300 incidents.

Ahead of November 25’s White Ribbon Day – the international day for the elimination of violence against women – the city’s chapter of the advocacy group is calling for further measures to protect those in abusive relationships.

Orange White Ribbon committee chairwoman Nicole Paterson said it was important to look beyond the numbers and remember there was a person behind each of the reported incidents.

She said the figures were misleading, with many instances of abuse going unreported.

“There are way more people living in fear of domestic violence,” Ms Paterson said, adding that while there were men who were victims of domestic violence, the vast majority of victims were women.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey revealed 17 per cent of women had experienced violence from a partner by the age of 15, with six per cent cent of men having the same experience by the same age.

White Ribbon’s chief fundraiser on November 25 will be a 24-hour treadmill relay, which in addition to collecting cash for the organisation’s national pool will assist Housing Plus to build a dedicated crisis accommodation facility in Orange.

Orange White Ribbon committee vice-chairman Granton Smith said the facility was the missing piece of the puzzle in terms of the city’s capabilities of responding to domestic violence.

“Many domestic violence services in Orange are nine to five. The crisis centre will work outside those hours,” Mr Smith explained.

According to Destroy the Joint, 41 women have died due to domestic violence across Australia in 2017.

For Ms Paterson, the figures only emphasise the need for crisis accommodation in Orange.

“It’s astounding there isn’t a crisis centre when these statistics are so high,” she said.

The treadmill will relay will take place at the civic precinct at 12pm on Saturday, November 25.