South Australian sees domestic violence list grow by 2,000 names in less than two years

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Domestic violence capital: How one Australian state has seen domestic violence list grow by 2,000 names in less than two years with one man named by 14 DIFFERENT women

  • South Australia’s domestic violence abuser watchlist has grown 2,000 names 
  • Almost 6,300 men are listed and more than 1,700 are alleged repeat offenders
  • Figures have been revealed as three people were murdered in the state last week

A South Australian watchlist tracking domestic violence abusers has swollen by 2,000 names in 17 months – with one man named by 14 different women.  

The database lists the names of almost 6,300 men, who have been reported by alleged victims who have presented at domestic violence services across the state.

More than 1,700 of the alleged abusers have had multiple victims, while more than 1,800 are alleged to have been involved in multiple incidents.

The shocking figures come after three people were victims of horrific domestic violence murders in South Australia last week, including a nine-month-old baby girl. 

Kobi Shepherdson died after her father Henry plunged the pair off the Whispering Wall dam walkway in the Barossa Valley in an apparent murder-suicide.

Almost 6,300 men are listed on a South Australian domestic violence watchlist - which has grown by 2,000 names in 17 months

Almost 6,300 men are listed on a South Australian domestic violence watchlist – which has grown by 2,000 names in 17 months

Women’s Safety Services SA acting chief operating officer Kathrine Cock said most of the serial offenders on the list were linked to two women.

However, she said ‘three or or four’ was not uncommon and the man linked to 14 woman could have also harmed children or relatives. 

‘What is important for the public to understand is that domestic and family violence is a pattern of behaviour and it’s not necessarily limited to a single relationship,’ Ms Cock said, The Advertiser reports. 

‘It takes a lot of work to break that cycle. Where it becomes particularly heartbreaking for us is where we see kids involved multiple times.’

Not all those listed have been charged or convicted of crimes, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviour are included. 

However, the majority of those featured have violence intervention orders out against them by their victims. 

The list is used by frontline workers to assess risks and develop safety plans but they are unable to tell victims if their abuser is on the system.

The names are not handed to police or placed on public record, but victims who wish to find out their partner’s abusive history can be referred to the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, where police reveal a man’s past offences. 

The growing list has sparked mounting calls for more funding to be injected into programs that change abusive behaviour before it reaches crisis point.

The shocking figures have sparked calls for more funding to be injected into domestic violence programs

The shocking figures have sparked calls for more funding to be injected into domestic violence programs

Community Transitions chief executive Leigh Garrett, whose organisation runs a men’s helpline and behaviour change courses, said enabling women to escape helps keep them safe but does not resolve the problem.

‘The long-term treatment and rehabilitation of these men doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve got to be able to hold them (in a program) long enough … that’s the difficult job.’ 

Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said there are state government-funded initiatives in place, such as the ‘Don’t Be That Man’ hotline and two programs for men and boys going through rehabilitation, that are being used to prevent abuse.

She said the programs send a strong message to perpetrators to stop and get the support they need.

However opposition spokeswoman Katrine Hildyard said tougher laws were needed, proposing legislation which would increase maximum jail terms for people who breached intervention orders.

The watchlist was launched in 2015 as part of coronial inquest recommendations following the murder of Robyn Hayward.

She was killed by her former partner who had a history of assault and abusive in relationships.

For domestic and family violence or sexual assault counselling call the national 1800 RESPECT hotline 1800 737 732.

For help leaving an abusive relationship in South Australia phone the Domestic Violence Crisis Line on 1800 800 098.

Men who have anger, relationship or parenting concerns can contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or the Don’t Become That Man hotline on 1300 24 34 13.

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