Sunshine Coast Police’s officer in charge is unhappy with attitudes of men who are responsible for more than 90% of domestic violence and sexual assaults.
Looking at Queensland crime statistics for the past 10 years on the Sunshine Coast in regard to domestic violence and sexual assaults, the amount of cases have remained steady which is quite disheartening.
In an effort to promote awareness and prevention, Sunshine Coast Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards says that 90% of the incidents originate from men, and that it seems to start at an early age.
“I don’t believe we really have suitable or targeted education in relation to raising awareness for domestic violence, behaviours of males, sexual assaults, understanding consents, what’s right, what’s wrong, all those basic things for which we’re lacking an education system,” Sergeant Edwards says.
Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit (SVRPU) co-leader Dr Lara Christensen says, “We all have a role we can play, and prevention is the key.”
Dr Christensen assisted in the creation of Conversation Cards for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to help parents, teachers, and caregivers enter into a conversation with kids on difficult topics, sparking conversation about personal safety.
“I think it’s about keeping an open dialogue in society, making people feel more comfortable about discussing the topic – the Conversation Cards are one example of a mechanism for this, and letting research inform practice,” Dr Christensen says.
With around 50% of police force time is taken up with DV and family violence issuers, Sergeant Edwards says he wanted to address the situation so that police can be involved at an earlier stage to prevent death.
He says in Australia one woman a week is murdered as a result of domestic violence.
Breaking the Silence was a free Queensland Department of Education school-based program offered by Sunshine Coast White Ribbon and managed by former Noosa’s White Ribbon Committee chair Bob Birkhead, which planned to educate children on the issue of domestic violence from a young age.
“About 85% of reported DV issues are against men as perpetrators with the other 15% being against women as perpetrators, and also with same sex couples,” Mr Birkhead says.
“Advocacy and awareness are still keys, but COVID-19 has restricted the opportunities.
“Safety houses are needed in Noosa, so we are looking at a program that could assist the young children of DV relationships.”
White Ribbon went into liquidation last year, ceasing all Breaking The Silence activities, but Mr Birkhead is now instigating with Noosa Zonta through Rotary Noosa Heads new ways to continue the advocacy of White Ribbon in the Noosa Area.
Schools, workplaces and sporting clubs are all targeted areas to address domestic violence and sexual assaults issues with prevention and awareness programs.
Call domestic violence helpline 24/7 to escape violence. Womensline 1800 811 811, Mensline 1800 600 636 Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 010 120.