78 cases in past month: domestic violence must stop

SIX Gladstone women fell victim to domestic violence over the weekend as momentum to do something about the issue starts to build.

Police confirmed the six victims in the past two days joined an increasing number being hurt in the home - there were 78 cases recorded in the past month alone.

However, drastic measures like those on the verge of being adopted in New South Wales - where Mike Baird's government wants to set up a register to allow women to check the violent history of their partners - is not getting a lot of support in Queensland.

Instead, this state's effort is likely to focus on recommendations made in a hard-hitting report on domestic violence released in the past 10 days, from the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence.

Special interest groups are in the process of joining forces with The Observer and other Australian Regional Media mastheads to push for change.

Specialist courts, a more empathetic police force and education in schools are the likely focus.

That won't help the 17 women believed to have been killed by their partners across the nation already this year, but it should help people like the Women's Legal Service, struggling to cope with 2000 calls a month.

Gladstone Salvation Army lieutenant Kaylene Ford, new to the city since January, was one not willing to back the NSW proposals, but said something had to be done.

"We're working on building relationships within the community. Domestic violence should not be tolerated."

Gladstone police sergeant Caroline Hogan gave an insight into the size of the problem when comparing the number of domestic violence cases to callouts to traffic incidents.

"There's been 78 (domestic violence callouts) this last month," she said. "A high proportion of these came where alleged offenders ignored previous orders."

The new report and the steady tale of woe through Gladstone's courts has made The Observer and its sister papers consider ways to join forces with support agencies.

And one of the most vital campaigns in our history will launch this weekend.



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