‘Stop what you’re doing’: FNQ’s violence shame
THE number of cowards and thugs defying domestic and family violence orders against ex-partners and family members in the Far North has spiralled to its highest figure in history.
A total of 344 charges for breaches were dished out across the region during September, which was not only 35 more than the previous record-breaking month, but also the highest September total for any police district in the state.
A police crackdown has likely led to a higher number of charges, but those working at the coalface at local domestic violence services said they have seen an increase in the level of violence against victims amid a backdrop of COVID isolation.
Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service chief executive Sandra Keogh said they had seen multiple incidents of Far North offenders using the pandemic to isolate victims, refusing to let them leave the house, see family or seek support.
Reduced transport services due to the coronavirus crisis, particularly in more remote areas, was also having an impact with victims having less opportunity to leave dangerous situations.
"What is coming through is an increased complexity of issues and anecdotally the level of violence has been increasing," Ms Keogh said.
"If there is a protection order in place it is an indication that the police have already attended or (a victim) has sought an order in court … so the fact someone feels comfortable to reoffend is a concern."
Breaches can range from text messages and phone calls, through to actual violence, depending on the terms of the order.
Police figures show assaults have also jumped in the past two months in the region, a change which Chief Supt Brian Huxley partially attributed to domestic violence offences.
But he warned perpetrators were on notice.
"If you're breaching those orders police are not going to disregard it," Chief Supt Huxley said.
"We're going to follow it up 100 per cent of the time.
"Maybe that should be a warning to people to reconsider what they are doing."
A further two domestic and family violence liaison officers were added to the local police unit earlier this year.
DVO BREACH STATS
Worst Districts - last month
South Brisbane: 242
FNQ Worst Divisions
FNQ Worst Months
Sept 2020: 344
August 2020: 309
October 2019: 300
December 2019: 297
January 2020: 294
Originally published as 'Stop what you're doing': FNQ's domestic violence shame