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How domestic violence security experts say Australia’s response to family violence can be improved

Despite a huge push to stop domestic violence, and a royal commission, family violence is still a massive problem with Victorian family violence contact centres receiving almost 80,000 enquiries a year.

The state government has implemented 143 of the 227 recommendations for reform put forward by the royal commission in 2016, but Victorian police are still responding to a family violence-relate incident every six minutes.

Two former detectives, who now run a security company which specialises in helping victims of domestic violence, say the situation is only getting worse.

Stephen Wilson and Steven Schultz founded Protective Group a decade ago, and say they’re now seeing “significantly more” domestic violence cases referred to them.

“We receive between probably 20 and 120 odd referrals a week, and quite a few of them we’re noticing elder abuse where kids are still in the house and mum’s not coping,” Mr Wilson told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“You would be absolutely horrified, the men in this community, Victoria, who are perpetrators of serious family violence with potential to kill women and children,” Mr Schultz added.

“We’ve had members of parliament, we’ve had surgeons, we’ve had QCs, we’ve had media people, school teachers, we’ve had unemployed ice addicts.”

The forms domestic violence is taking are changing, too.

“We’re finding probably eight or nine women out of 10 are suffering from technology abuse,” Mr Wilson said.

“It can be from simple stalking on social media, text messages, trackers in cars, listening devices in homes, spyware on phones.

The pair are calling for “a whole new rethink” of how domestic violence is dealt with.

“We need supervised safe places for women to go to until the police and everybody else involved can get their hands on the perpetrator and deal with him,” Mr Schultz said.

“Touchy feely men’s behaviour programs, I don’t mean to disrespect them but I think we need to escalate the response in relation to that. I think we need psychiatrists involved in that,” Mr Wilson added.

“It’s not going to change overnight. This is going to take generational change.

“This needs to be thought outside the square a bit more.”

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Image: Lolostock / Getty

 

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