Police were called to 13 domestic violence incidents on Christmas Day
Police were called to 13 domestic violence incidents on Christmas Day Claudia Baxter

Police attend 13 domestic violence calls on Christmas

FOR some families maintaining Christmas cheer is difficult.

Police attended 13 domestic violence incidents within the Mackay district on Christmas Day. This is a significant drop from December 25 last year when officers were called to 20 incidents.

Mackay police station acting Officer-in-Charge Senior Sergeant Tony McDowall said domestic violence covered everything from harassment and intimidation to verbal and threatening behaviour, as well as actual violence.

"A lot of the calls we get are to do with heated arguments or harassment, but they can lead to more violent behaviour. That's why we address each one as the same," Snr Sgt McDowall said.

On Christmas Eve officers were called out to 10 incidents after 4pm, which is the same figure as last year.

And from Boxing Day to 6am on Monday this year police dealt with 34 incidents.

"Domestic violence is always a concern for police and that's why we treat it so seriously," Snr Sgt McDowall said.

There was no set reason for a domestic dispute, but it could be due to a variety of things such as a build-up of family pressure or pressure throughout the year, he said.

"Consumption of alcohol can be a contributing factor," Snr Sgt McDowall added.

"Normal family stress seems to come out heavily at Christmas time."

Not every domestic incident resulted in a protection order being taken out.

"One of our first concerns with taking out a protection order (is)... if (someone) is in fear of their own safety," Snr Sgt McDowall said.

Every call was treated on its own merits and repeat calls to the same location were monitored heavily.

Snr Sgt McDowall said officers tried to proactively assist where they could to prevent further or more serious issues from developing.

This is done through a system where people involved are referred to agencies like Lifeline or Relationships Australia, he said.



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