The State Government has made a particular effort to fight against domestic and family violence throughout Western Australia this year, including committing additional resources to the Kimberley region .
Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk has announced a two-year extension of the Kimberley Family Violence Service Trial, as well as funding for two additional outreach workers in the Kimberley for women and children and two new response team workers based in Broome and Kununurra.
Most of this funding came from the $28.1 million WA recovery plan package announced in July, and the additional resources specifically for Kimberley were announced on September 18.
According to crime statistics from WA Police, the number of family-related offences recorded so far this year is higher than the January to September figures for the last two years. This has increased the five year average of family related offences by 13.77 per cent.
A variety of factors may have contributed to the increase in domestic stress, such as financial hardship or COVID-19 related quarantine. Former youth worker for Kira House, Olivia Colja, said there were no definitive reasons why, when and where domestic violence happened.
She adds: “It isn’t something that is easily solved. There is so much depth as to why it occurs and why it continues.”
Preventing Violence Against Women founder Sandy Taylor is concerned about the public perception that domestic abuse is only a physical act, when it is “often a pattern of controlling behavior”, and she is worried that this kind of abuse is widespread and under reported.
On the upside, she said: “Now we are talking about it a lot more and having those conversations which is good.”
If you, or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence phone 1800RESPECT, or visit www.1800respect.org.au, the service offers support 24/7 and has interpreters on hand if required.
The World Health Organisation has also developed a resource to help curb violence against women during COVID-19. It is available here.