Domestic violence spirals on Coast

THE number of thugs passing through the Fraser Coast’s courts on domestic violence charges has skyrocketed by 20% since 2008-09.

According to the latest figures provided by the Queensland courts, 627 people made applications for domestic and family violence orders at Hervey Bay Magistrates Court in 2009-10, and a further 296 made applications at Maryborough – totalling 923 orders.

The numbers are a huge jump from 2008-09, when Hervey Bay court recorded 453 applications and Maryborough court faced 314, for a total of 767 DVOs.

The Fraser Coast’s latest figures are also significantly higher than Bundaberg (591 applications), Caboolture (848), Rockhampton (837) and Toowoomba (620).

Yoorana Women’s Domestic Violence and Resource Service co-ordinator Janice Steele said it was not a surprise to find the numbers of DVO applications had risen across both Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

“The number is quite high; it’s not something we’re proud of.”

She said emergency accommodation was “full all year around”.

“There are lots of times when we can’t take clients on because we are too full,” she said.

“Then we have to refer them to the state services for help.”

She said the service had five units for short-term crisis accommodation, plus other transitional placements for women and children awaiting permanent housing.

“The problem then is trying to find long-term accommodation.”

Yoorana also offers advice, counselling and support to help women get through the legal system if they made a domestic violence order.

“I know our court support services have definitely grown in the past few years,” Ms Steele said.

Maryborough District domestic and family violence co-ordinator Sergeant Hayley Skyring said domestic violence was not just a problem on the Fraser Coast.

“It’s a big issue state-wide, covered by specific legislation,” she said.

“We ask people to report domestic violence, whether it is happening to them or to someone else, so that we can investigate it.”

Sgt Skyring said the Maryborough Police District had specially trained officers who worked with domestic violence services and the community to prevent abuse.

People fronting magistrates court for domestic violence issues cannot be named by the media in order to protect the victims, and most cases are heard in closed court so cannot be reported on.

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