Queensland Police and support services today issued a reminder on how vulnerable members of the community and those who may feel unsafe in their homes or relationships can access vital support.
In the 2021/22 Financial Year, domestic and family violence occurrences rose to 13,377 in March, up 21% from February, prompting the Queensland Police Service (QPS) to partner with Griffith University’s Motivating Action Through Empowerment (MATE) Bystander program and The Lady Musgrave Trust to remind the community that support is available.
Inspector Melissa Dwyer from the Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Command said everyone had the right to feel safe in their homes, but police were seeing increased reporting of domestic and family violence across the state.
“Last Financial Year police responded to 138,871 domestic violence occurrences in our community with March being the month we saw the highest number of occurrences,” Inspector Dwyer said.
“These callouts often happen when a crisis point has been reached and it can be complex to resolve these issues. We are here today to remind people of the various ways they can seek support through family and friends, support services or police.”
Director of Griffith University’s MATE and Be There program, Shaan Ross-Smith said following the holiday period, those who felt unsafe in their relationships turned to safety planning.
“We tend to see more women seeking refuge and making the decision to leave unsafe relationships at this time of year,” she said.
“The decision to leave can be a time of increased risk for those in unsafe relationships and may lead to a higher level of reporting.
“At these times, it’s so important that we Be There for people in our community who may be experiencing this and see ourselves as active bystanders.
“The Be There app is a bystander empowerment tool which provides information on how you can learn the signs, connect the dots and remember the moments that matter to support those who need a safe space.”
CEO of The Lady Musgrave Trust Victoria Parker said seamless connection to a range of support options was essential in safety planning.
“Connection to support is one way that women can feel empowered and informed to make decisions based on their situation. Often it can feel like women have nowhere to go,” she said.
“Our online handy guide provides access to important information and hundreds of services across Queensland in an accessible platform providing access to support and empowering women who may have otherwise felt powerless in their situation.”
For more information on the Lady Musgrave Trust and the online Handy Guide visit https://thehandyguide.com.au/.