Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Family Violence during COVID-19

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (18:28): I rise to give my adjournment matter. I initially thought it was for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, but I believe it could be for the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence. It was recently reported in the Australian that a specialist Victoria Police unit which was launched to support victims and to catch family violence perpetrators during the pandemic has recorded nearly 7000 offences while charging more than 1550 alleged perpetrators. Published data shows that as of 11 October Operation Ribbon recorded 6983 family violence offences, including breaches of intervention orders and assaults, since it launched in April. This represents an increase of 2547 offences since the figures were last recorded in mid-August by the state government. Additionally Victoria Police has charged 888 people who have been remanded over family violence-related crimes, while an extra 700 offenders have been arrested before being bailed or released to appear before a court at a later date. Understandably, with Victorians going through an unprecedented lockdown, there are concerns for the wellbeing of victims trapped in their homes with perpetrators. We already know that during Victoria’s first lockdown reporting rates of domestic violence dipped before rising sharply when restrictions eased. The decrease was reportedly attributed to victims having less opportunity to report violence during the lockdown rather than a reduction in offending. Given that we know rates of domestic and family violence ballooned during lockdown and reporting rates declined, the action that I seek is for the state government to consider embarking upon a family violence reporting campaign that urges those who have suffered during this lockdown to seek assistance.


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