Domestic violence a blot on Christmas

IT IS disturbing that Christmas for some is not the joyous occasion it is for most of us here on the Northern Rivers.

As a report in today’s Northern Star highlights, police and welfare agencies are preparing for the regular spikes in domestic violence the holiday period usually heralds.

In 2008-09, an astonishing 23,000 calls were made to the Domestic Violence Line statewide, with the majority related to physical, verbal or psychological abuse.

Of these calls, 14,200 involved children.

And these are just the reported statistics. No doubt there are more going unreported by victims too frightened to speak out.

Police say more than 40 per cent of assaults they attend each year are related to domestic or family violence.

The spike the authorities expect is due in large part to alcohol, family tensions and financial concerns, but there is no excuse for domestic violence.

If some believe domestic violence is not a local concern, think again.

Domestic violence is becoming such a drain on our legal system and policing resources that Lismore Magistrate Robyn Denes spoke out in court last week.

Addressing one offender, she said that for too many years domestic violence was simply hidden under the carpet and regarded as not being the business of the courts.

Ms Denes went on to say that things had changed and that domestic violence was now treated seriously. “Such conduct is brutal, cowardly and inexcusable,” she said.

Magistrate Denes is spot on.

We can only pray that this Christmas this silent menace is not as widespread as authorities fear.

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