November 25 2013

– Twenty nine people were killed in family violence attacks in Victoria last year, shocking new police figures show.

The figures have been released after Victoria Police provided an analysis showing the true horror of family violence crime in Victoria. The 29 deaths, at the hands of a family member including an intimate partner or ex-partner, are a significant and worrying rise on the 13 people killed in family violence situations the previous year.

Last financial year, women were the victims of 29,064 attacks by male partners or ex-partners, and 341 attacks by current or ex-female partners. Women were responsible for 6122 attacks against their current or former male partners. Men were victimised 460 times by their same-sex partners.

The data was made available by Victoria Police as part of the Herald Sun’s Take a Stand campaign against family violence. It is being revealed today, White Ribbon Day, to raise awareness of, and prevent, men’s violence against women. Police would not release figures showing how many people were killed by their domestic partners.

But they said there were 44 homicide offences recorded in a family violence context last financial year, including murder, manslaughter and attempted murder. Of these, 28 victims were women or girls and 16 were men or boys. Seventeen of these crimes were carried out by former or current partners. The victims comprised 13 women and four men.

Detective Acting-Superintendent Paul Binyon, from the Victoria Police sexual assault and family violence unit, likened domestic violence to a “ticking bomb”. Det-Acting Supt Binyon said police needed to intervene early to prevent it destroying people’s lives. “Our experience is that a lot of people are very good at putting on masks and being able to deflect the troubles going on at home,” he said. “But you know that at some stage in the future those troubles are going to bubble through to the surface and present themselves in an adverse way – whether that’s through their relationships, their behaviour.

CEO of the peak body Domestic Violence Victoria, Fiona McCormack said it wasn’t good enough that women were still not safe in their own homes. “We’ve just seen yet another spate of women murdered by their partners or ex- partners in Victoria which demonstrates once again that women and children are more at risk of violence in their own homes than on the streets,” she said. “We invite all MPs to see first-hand the critical gap in resources to support families at risk, by meeting with their local family violence service.

Det-Acting Supt Binyon called on men in leadership positions to be proactive.

“Men in leadership roles need to look at support programs, assistance to staff, friends, family, to be positive role models, and to really take a leadership position.” “That’s sending a very powerful message that police won’t tolerate that behaviour and we’re taking affirmative action to address the concerns of women. They are real, those stats are real and they speak for themselves,” he said.

“This is about people feeling safe. Every citizen has a right to feel safe in their home, or walking down the street and just because they’ve ended a relationship that shouldn’t impact on their entitlement to go about their business and their personal life. “You have a right to feel safe in your home, you have a right to feel safe once a relationship has ended and you shouldn’t be subjected to threats, intimidation or damage. Or worse.”

Det-Acting Supt Binyon said family violence directly impacted children who witnessed or experienced it.

“Young children subjected to the horrors of family violence … it impacts on their ability to function normally in a whole range of their living environments, from school, the relationships they form with friends, how it shapes the young people they will become when they grow into adulthood, how they form their own personal, intimate relationships with people down the track.

“I think it’s just a really emerging issue we need to understand and the importance around early intervention to break them out of that cycle.”

Ellen Whinnettt


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