OPINION: Domestic violence levels in Gladstone are appalling
OPINION: Yesterday I watched various domestic violence offenders enter the courtroom but not go back out. Instead they will be transported to the Capricornia Correctional Centre to spend varying amounts of time.
I’ve lived in Gladstone for more than a year now and the prevalence of domestic violence here is appalling.
For the past few months I have been covering court in Gladstone and each day as I see the offences listed the words “domestic violence” appear far more than anything else.
What does that say about the orders? Are people not taking them seriously? What is the purpose of a victim taking out one of these orders if they aren’t followed?
It appears Gladstone’s new magistrate Bevan Manthey has been asking similar questions and has come to the conclusion that enough is enough.
The sentiment I’ve expressed is reflected in Mr Manthey’s sentences. On more than one occasion he said he had been a magistrate all around Queensland but had never seen the prevalence of domestic violence breaches, particularly violent ones, as he has in Gladstone.
And so, offenders for whom previous magistrates may have chosen probation or suspended sentences are now facing actual time in prison.
In my opinion these strong and harsh penalties are the consequence of a town that’s needed to take a long hard look at itself for far too long. How did it get to this stage?
If you’re a perpetrator, have you stopped and asked yourself why? Arguments in relationships happen but what causes someone to turn violent?
There are numerous reasons why victims stay in these relationships, but as a perpetrator why would you stay with someone who makes you feel the need to hurt them?
Is jail the answer to stopping perpetrators in a town that is at its absolute wits end from offenders not getting the message? In my opinion no. It’s time we all take a good hard look at ourselves and question our own personal behaviours. Look at what has led you to the circumstance where you would be willing to enforce power over another person, be it physical violence, mental manipulation or financial control, and ask yourself why are you doing this?
Because while Mr Manthey is calling the shots there is a very large chance these sorts of actions are going to land you behind bars.
For anyone seeking help:
Gladstone Women’s Health 1800 749 222
DV Connect Womensline 1800 811 811
DV Connect Mensline 1800 600 636
Policelink 131 444 or 000 in an emergency.