The Capricorn region’s shameful secret

THEY sit and tell their story with emotion.

They're usually battered, bruised and traumatised.

Often there's a child by their side.

Acting Inspector Ben Carroll sees the suffering again and again.

But it never gets any easier to hear the abuse a victim of domestic violence encounters. In the majority of cases, women are the victims.

Domestic violence is the Capricornia region's shameful secret.

New figures, released this week to coincide with White Ribbon Day, show the rate in the region is 67.3% higher than the state average.

Since July 1, police have attended close to 1900 domestic violence incidents in the region.

"We see it so regularly," Act Insp Carroll said.

"Some weekends at North Rockhampton and Rockhampton (we) can attend over 25 incidents of domestic violence.

"Our officers are attending multiple domestic violence incidents ... sometimes two or three per shift, per officer, so it's a huge problem."

Louise Hayes from Rockhampton Women's Health Centre and Acting Inspector Ben Carroll talk about Capricornia's shocking domestic violence statistics on White Ribbon Day. Photo Michelle Gately / Morning Bulletin
Louise Hayes from Rockhampton Women's Health Centre and Acting Inspector Ben Carroll talk about Capricornia's shocking domestic violence statistics on White Ribbon Day. Photo Michelle Gately / Morning Bulletin Michelle Gately

Act Insp Carroll said police were still trying to understand Capricornia's statistics.

But he said a lot had changed during his 25 years on the job.

"When I first joined ... we didn't actually have legislation targeted at domestic violence," Act Insp Carroll said.

"In the early 90s legislation was developed and that has improved over the years.

"I think with that we've seen a greater understanding of domestic violence and an increase in women coming forward."

Act Insp Carroll said while the statistics were "a significant problem", it was good to see domestic violence being increasingly reported. He said this meant women in particular were starting to feel more comfortable seeking help.

"We have to continue to raise awareness among the community," he said.

"As men we have to stand up and say domestic violence will not be tolerated in our community."

Shocking violence

Each year, Capricornia police respond to about 4500 domestic violence incidents

In the 2013 to 2014 financial year, 1793 domestic violence order applications were completed, with 1330 reported breaches

Since July 1, police have attended 1888 incidents, with 535 breaches of existing domestic violence orders