Offenders, watch out. Those at risk, speak up.
It is a simple message but one Sutherland Police hope will be effective in fighting a major crime in the area –domestic violence.
The command has formed a new team to help tackle violent incidences in the home.
The recently formed unit of 10 officers will focus solely on offender accountability, victim protection and reducing re-offences.
Following the consolidation of resources with Miranda, the command is now able to not only improve police response time to domestic incidences, but better manage existing cases.
Within a month of operating, the unit has made 11 arrests and laid 25 charges.
The team works with victims of immediate risk to serious violence, who have been previously reluctant or unwilling to seek support.
It now makes the unit one of the largest in the metropolitan Sydney area.
Officers will also play a key role in the NSW government’s Safer Pathways program, which launched in the shire this month.
It brings police together with community support agencies, where they discuss current cases and strategies on how to deal with re-offenders.
Sutherland Police commander superintendent Julian Griffiths says domestic violence incidents are growing.
“It would be the major incident type police in the shire respond to on a daily basis,” he said.
“We receive anywhere from 100 to 150 domestic-related calls a month.
“Our calls to service haven’t gone down – they have been consistent, and are actually, going up.
“An emerging trend in family domestic violence in this area is sibling violence towards a parent.
“With cost of living pressures, children are staying at home longer.”
He said the unit was better equipped to manage existing offenders who put their victims at risk.
“Sometimes there was a delay if the offender couldn’t be found or if officers were called to other matters,” superintendent Griffiths said.
“When our commands amalgamated, one of our priorities was to build a new structure to have the capacity to respond to this.
“The new model has allowed us to resource a dedicated unit of officers to focus on supporting initial police responses, and develop ways to target high risk and repeat offenders.
“It’s about taking action quickly – that’s where the unit comes in handy.
“This is only the start from our perspective and it has been very productive.
“Their results demonstrate what can be done in this area.”
He said the whole community could help by reporting cases where they suspect domestic violence is occurring.
“If people see someone breaking a window or trying to break into a car they generally have no problem in ringing the police and reporting it,” superintendent Griffiths said.
“We want to break the cycle.
“When the initial act occurs, there’s a period of normality. But then it happens again because the perpetrator hadn’t been held accountable or the victim didn’t have the confidence to come forward.
“If we can create a unit where even a child can come home feeling safe, that’s a win for us.”
The Domestic Violence Unit can be contacted on 9542 0899.