Paul Clarke (left) and Stuart Anderson, of the Men and Families Centre, both agree domestic violence is one of the Northern Riv
Paul Clarke (left) and Stuart Anderson, of the Men and Families Centre, both agree domestic violence is one of the Northern Riv

Booze blamed for violence

By Alex Easton ALCOHOL and poor role models have been blamed for rising domestic violence and property crime in the region.

Big jumps in thefts and vandalism in the Lismore and Richmond Valley local government areas have been blamed on equally big jumps in domestic violence-related assaults, with Clarence MP Steve Cansdell saying violence in the home destabilised families, robbed children of their respect for society and encouraged anti-social behaviour.

Men and Families Centre counselling co-facilitator Paul Clarke and NSW Family Relationship Centres executive manager Jonathan Toussaint agreed domestic violence was one of the Northern Rivers' biggest social problems, and a combination of alcohol abuse and a culture of negative role models hampered efforts to solve the issue.

In Lismore yesterday, Mr Toussaint said one of the challenges for groups such as the relationships centre was to teach children from domestic violence backgrounds about conventional social values.

Mr Toussant said the trick was to educate parents, who could then educate children. However, getting to the parents was part of the problem.

Both centres offered anger management programs aimed at stopping domestic violence. However, Mr Clarke said those programs were under-utilised by the community and his organisation could easily take another 25 men.

Mr Toussant said there was a stigma attached to counselling that needed to be erased to encourage men to use it.



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