WOMEN and children are living in fear as domestic violence increases across Gladstone.
Figures obtained by The Observer reveal private applications for domestic violence orders are at a three-year high in Gladstone.
Police applications for domestic violence orders are also at their highest since 2009.
Last year, 1575 private DVO applications were lodged within the central region.
Of more concern is the seeming lack of regard for these orders when put in place, which breach figures indicate.
Gladstone recorded 192 breaches of domestic violence orders last year.
The rate of breaches per 100,000 people in is significantly higher than the rest of the central region - 499 per 100,000 in Gladstone compared to 322 breaches per 100,000 for the rest of the region.
A Queensland police spokesman said police had the ability to act on behalf of someone who they believed to be a victim of domestic and family violence.
"If an officer reasonably suspects an incident of violence, it is their duty to investigate the matter thoroughly," the spokesman said.
"If there is enough evidence that domestic or family violence has occurred, police can apply for a domestic violence order on behalf of the aggrieved."
With this being domestic and family violence prevention awareness month, the spotlight needs to be cast on such offences.
Of the 264 assaults recorded in Gladstone last year, 20 of these had elements of domestic violence, five more than in 2011.
Not only physical violence, domestic family violence can make up a whole range of offences, the police said.
"Domestic and family violence orders in the Capricornia Police District have been issued for varying reasons ranging from harassing text messaging and emails, including threats and intimidation, through to serious assaults," he said.
Gladstone police are here to help domestic violence sufferers
THERE is help available. That is the message Gladstone police would like to get out there when it comes to domestic and family violence.
Gladstone officer in charge Senior Sergeant Jason Chetham urged people to reach out, rather than suffer in silence.
"There's a lot of people suffering and a lot of kids suffering in households with domestic violence," he said.
"We're there to help people and we can put them in touch with support agencies.
"If someone feels they're a victim of domestic violence please ring us and we'll be there immediately."
While Snr Sgt Chetham reinforced that it was the entire community's responsibility to eradicate domestic violence, it is timely to inform people of the avenues available to them if caught in a domestically volatile situation.
"An application for a domestic and family violence order can be completed and lodged at the local courthouse by police, the aggrieved or a person authorised by the aggrieved such as a solicitor, family member, friend or welfare worker," a Queensland Police spokesman said.
"The application is then mentioned in court where the magistrate can issue a final order if it is not opposed by the respondent.
"If the application is opposed by the respondent the magistrate may issue a temporary order while the matter is contested."
If in danger, call police. Otherwise, there are a number of agencies that can assist including: