Family abuse hits home at a record rate

Wagga has claimed the cruel and cowardly record of the state’s biggest spike in domestic violence-related assaults.
Nanjing Night Net

Latestcrime statistics revealed aharrowing 46.1 per cent rise in reported “major cases” of battered Wagga women over the past 24 months to September.

Although the scourge of domestic violence is leaching through the Wagga community faster than anywhere in NSW, the crime is more prevalent in Griffith and equally as prevalent in Tumut.

Women’s refuge Sisters Housing Enterprises managerBelinda McMahon said the city’s lead domestic violence crisis accommodation was “full all the time”.

“Whilst the domestic violencerates are going up, we’re hamstrung by the number of beds we have,” Ms McMahon said.

“However, when police need to remove a woman and/or her children, they contact us and we try to accommodate them if we have room, otherwise we help them into a motel.”

Suni Spokes from Wagga’sWomen’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) is absorbing the noticeable increase while bracing for Christmas, which is considered a “trigger point for women who wish to leave a violent relationship”.

“Often the violence can escalate once a victim chooses to leave;the main concern for women and children is their safety,” Ms Spokes said.

“We often speak to women before they leave about having a safety plan in place.”

Last month the state government rolled out a new domestic violence program in Wagga –run by WDVCAS – whereby “at threat”or “at serious threat” women are assigned adomestic violence worker to help them accesspolice, health, corrections, Family and Community Services (FACS)and education services.

Labor’s shadow domestic violence prevention minister Jenny Aitchison will visit Wagga within a month as part of a whistle-stop tour to address the “crisis”.

If you need help contact Wagga’sWomen’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service on 6921 6227 or the national family violence counselling service on 1800 737 732.

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