Safe Steps welcomes the most recent data from Victoria Police, showing a reduction of family incident reports of 2.4 per cent, but warns that this drop does not signal a reduction in experiences of family violence, with the service continuing to see high demand for their 24/7 response service.
“This reduction in reporting is not translating to a reduced demand on our service,” said Rita Butera, CEO of Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre.
“We still have days where we manage over 300 calls from victim-survivors with complex challenges including mental health and homelessness, with many in need of immediate protection,” she said.
She believes that it is more likely the reduction is a correction of a surge in reports throughout the pandemic due to an increase in police focus on family violence, and because more people are reaching out for support from services sooner before family violence is reported to police.
“If you look at it in the context of the sheer numbers – still over 90,000 reports – we still have so much work to do, particularly in our regions who are experiencing higher rates than any other areas,” said Ms. Butera.
“What we are seeing is more of a flattening as we move into a new normal post-reform and we need to keep our foot on the accelerator to maintain this momentum,” she said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing or afraid of family and domestic violence, please call Safe Steps for support on 1800 015 188 (24 hours/7 days a week) or visit www.safesteps.org.au.
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