Sheila McHale

Sheila McHale

Minister for Disability Services; Tourism; Culture and the Arts; Consumer Protection

    Domestic violence arrests rise as new police powers are enforced

    1/12/2005 12:00 AM

    Domestic violence arrests have risen sharply one year after tough new laws were introduced by the Gallop Government.

    Community Development Minister Sheila McHale said that this year, police made more than 9,100 domestic violence arrests, up from fewer than 5,000 arrests in the previous year.

    “Important new measures were introduced on December 1 last year to increase penalties for perpetrators and provide greater protection to women and children,” Ms McHale said.

    “Police now have the power to issue on-the-spot restraining orders and more than 5,200 of these orders were issued this year - that is about 100 violent people removed from the family home every week.

    “This is an incredible result from our boosted police powers and will help with our continuing work to keep women and children safe.

    “These laws represent Australia’s toughest approach to domestic violence, and prove violence in the family home is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

    The Minister said the total number of domestic violence offences committed this year was about 17,200 - an almost 60 per cent increase from about 11,000 offences in 2004.

    Ms McHale said the considerable increase in arrests and reported offences reflected the willingness of people to come forward and report to police the violence they are experiencing.

    “Anecdotal evidence from community groups and service providers suggests that the increase in arrests and offences does not necessarily mean we are becoming a more violent community,” she said.

    “It is a strong indicator that victims of domestic violence, and their families, friends and neighbours, have more confidence in the way incidents are being dealt with by police.

    “I would urge victims or perpetrators of domestic violence to seek help, particularly in the lead-up to the Christmas period, which is for many a financially and emotionally difficult time."

    Crisis Care
    Metro callers: 9223 1111 or Country callers: 1800 199 008 (freecall STD)

    Women's Domestic Violence Helpline
    Metro callers: 9223 1188 or Country callers: 1800 007 339 (freecall STD)

    Men's Domestic Violence Helpline
    Metro callers: 9223 1199 or Country callers: 1800 000 599 (freecall STD)

    Minister's office: 9213 6900