No innocent bystanders in domestic violence deaths

POLICE are dealing with 400 domestic violence incidents each day in New South Wales, prompting a powerful new campaign to get family and community members to speak out.

There have been 32 domestic-related murders in NSW this year and police respond to more than 145,000 domestic and family violence calls every year.

Crime Stoppers and NSW Police have launched the No Innocent Bystanders video campaign in an effort to stem the worrying upward trend.

NSW Police commissioner Andrew Scipione.
NSW Police commissioner Andrew Scipione. David Moir

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said a series of public service announcements would be played across television networks, reflecting the cruel reality officers investigating domestic violence face every day.

"In some of these cases we know that sadly there had been a history of violence in the home, and people in the community had knowledge of it but had reservations about coming forward," Commissioner Scipione said.

"That's why we're urging you, if you witness domestic violence, if you've noticed the behaviour of a family member, friend or colleague change or if you have concerns for the welfare of someone in your neighbourhood to please pick up the phone and report that information to Crime Stoppers.

"Every little piece of the puzzle, as reflected in today's video campaign, is another piece of information police can use to take action against offenders and bring peace to victims.

"Most importantly, when you come forward to make a report you can remain anonymous, and the details you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence."

Police responded to 224 domestic violence incidents in the Clarence Valley between July 2015 and June this year - a rate of 440 incidents per 100,000 population, Bureau of Crime Statistics figures reveal.

Lismore was home to 204 calls (457 per 100,000), Coffs Harbour had 470 incidents (650 per 100,000) and Tweed had 286 (313 per 100,000).

But the worst town for domestic violence was Walgett, west of Narrabri, with 143 incidents or 2090 per 100,000 population.

Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller said the perception domestic violence was a family matter and private business needed to be broken.

"That is certainly not the case. If you are aware this is occurring in your community, you are obliged to report it, like any other crime," he said.

"If you saw your neighbour's car being stolen you wouldn't hesitate for a moment; we want you to treat domestic and family violence with the same response. Do not hesitate - make the call."

If you, or anyone you know has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence, phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732); a 24-hour family and domestic violence counselling line.

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