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Central West Queensland

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18 December, 2020

Domestic violence continues to claim Emerald victims

DOMESTIC violence continues to ravage Australia and Queensland with two people being assaulted each week in Emerald says Jeanelle Horn the Director of the Emerald Neighbourhood Centre which runs several programs to assist victims of domestic violence.

Last year alone 11 people were killed between May 2018 and May 2019 as a result of domestic violence, according to the Queensland domestic violence organisation DVConnect.

Earlier this year Queenslanders were shocked by the murder of Hannah Baxter and her three children in Brisbane when her estranged husband set fire to their car after pouring petrol on it. ear.

Confirming the ongoing problem Horn said her organisation had two effective programs that assisted people facing domestic violence.

“The Emergency Relief provides emergency assistance for food, electricity and medical needs as well as referral support,” said Horn.

“The Connect Program provides one on one support to all ages, to assist the person or people to overcome the challenges they are facing.”

“Together the Coordinator and the client or clients discuss the issues at hand and then make a plan of action.

“The Coordinator is instrumental in providing the necessary support for the person/people to implement the plan,” explained Horn.

According to several domestic violence centres in Australia the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

“The number of domestic violence incidents has increased under Covid-19,” said Horn.

Hayley Roberts from Anglicare in Emerald said the pandemic had contributed further to the issue of domestic violence and those from the lower socio-economic sectors of society were often left with a precarious choice between struggling to find affordable accommodation, as rental prices spike in the wake of the mining boom, or staying in a violent situation at home.

In regards to the community’s attitude to victims of domestic violence the Horn said that “people needed to know that domestic violence could occur in any household, irrespective of their financial situation, their employment, their status in the community or their circumstances.”

Horn said there were a number of ways people could help to address the situation.

“Please listen to the words of anyone, in a relationship or situation, who expresses fear and distress, when it sounds concerning,” she said.

“Many times people can be judgemental and assume that a person could be ‘over reacting’ or that the person they are referring to as the perpetrator would never harm anyone, thereby silencing the victim,” explained Horn.

“If the Emerald community as a whole stands together and is brave about the matter they would say: “No, domestic violence is not acceptable.” 

According to DVConnect’s numbers - based on the most recent government statistics – on average one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner; one in three has experienced physical violence since the age of 15; one in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence; one in four has experienced emotional abuse and one in six has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner.

Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner, are almost four times more likely than men to be hospitalised after being assaulted by their spouse or partner and are more than twice as likely as men to have experienced fear or anxiety due to violence from a former partner.

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