The Baird Government must meet the increase in the number of people reporting domestic violence with greater funding for support services and more housing options for victims.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) figures released yesterday have shown a 1.9 per cent statewide increase in the number of reported domestic violence incidents in the last five years.
In some regional centres such as the Hunter Valley the increase in reporting is up 12.4 per cent. Instances of sexual assault have also risen across the state with a 1.7 per cent state wide increase reported by BOCSAR.
The increase in the number of people reporting domestic violence and sexual assault will place greater strain on the already under resourced and underfunded services.
In 2014 the Baird Government merged funding used to curb homelessness with funding used for domestic violence support services. The merged funding structure created greater ambiguity about where the money is actually going.
Support services like Carrie’s Place in Maitland have been under significant pressure to provide services to meet the demand after reporting a 25 per cent increase in demand in the last 12 months.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Jenny Aitchison
“An increase in the number of women reporting domestic violence must be met by the Baird Government with an increase in funding for support services.
“Support services across the state have been forced to beg for more funding since the Baird Government combined homelessness funding with funding for services to house families fleeing domestic violence.
“Organisations like Carrie’s Place in Maitland are under even more pressure with an increase in demand that far outweighs the level of Government support.
“It’s crucial that Government is properly funding the services that people need when they attempt to flee domestic violence.”
Quotes attributable to CEO of Domestic Violence NSW Moo Baulch
“The significant increase in reporting to NSW Police is extremely encouraging in the sense that we want more women to seek support.
“The last 18 months have seen an unprecedented level of conversation about domestic and family violence and the impacts on women and children in our communities.
“We are talking about intimate partner violence so much more, advocates such as Rosie Batty have helped us bring this issue out of the shadows. Unfortunately specialist support services are already stretched and the demand is increasing.”
Quotes attributable to CEO of Carrie’s Place Jan McDonald
“Maitland has had a 33% spike in domestic violence offences and is a major problem for our community.
“Carrie’s place has been inundated with calls over the last 12 months, seeing a 25% increase in demand.”