There’s no denying that Australia is in the midst of a domestic violence crisis, with intimate partner violence the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44.
In NSW alone, police respond to more than 140,000 incidents of domestic and family violence per year.
That’s 380 cases a day and almost 16 cases an hour.
In an attempt to raise public awareness about domestic and family violence, the NSW Police force launched a powerful new video campaign on Wednesday, centred on the theme “it’s not your fault”.
Members of NSW Police’s Domestic Violence Team used their own front-line experience investigating and prosecuting domestic-violence cases to write, direct and produce the video.
Assistant Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said that it was only fitting that the videos were inspired and developed by police.
“Police officers attend hundreds of domestic violence incidents every day and see first-hand the impact and harm it has on families,” he said.
“Children are the hidden victims of domestic violence, which is why children feature so prominently in the campaign.
“There are no innocent bystanders in this space. By reporting domestic violence, you could prevent the next homicide.”
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione highlighted the battle that police face in challenging community perceptions of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is a serious crime and police are committed to bringing offenders to justice,” he said.
“Every day police battle the community perception that domestic violence is a ‘family matter’ or ‘private business’.
“That is most definitely not the case. If you are aware this is occurring in your community, you are obliged to report it, like any other crime.”
The launch coincides with a state-wide rollout of Suspect Target Management Plans (STMP) for domestic violence reoffenders announced by both Scipione and NSW Premier Mike Baird on Wednesday.
“The STMP model will ensure the state’s most serious domestic violence offenders face the highest level of scrutiny by police, and allow us to intervene before they commit their next offence,” Scipione said.
“But a problem of this magnitude won’t go away in a hurry. We still have much more work to do, and that includes raising public awareness about the issue through campaigns like the one we are launching today.”
Baird has made it a priority to reduce the rate of domestic and family violence, and is rolling out the STMP after a successful trial.
“Suspect targeting identifies high-risk domestic violence offenders and places them on notice,” he said.
“A trial in the St George area over the past five months resulted in nine out of 13 high-risk offenders being charged, and almost a third being placed behind bars.”
Some of the scenes in the “It’s not your fault” video may be distressing to some audiences, however this is something that Scipione remains unapologetic about.
“Some may find the images in these videos confronting; we do not apologise for this,” he said.
“Domestic and family violence is a confronting issue, and one we must continue to face head-on.”
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence call the national sexual assault, domestic violence counselling service on 1800 RESPECT (737732) 24-hours a day. If you are in immediate danger please call 000.