Gender violence - Love should not hurt

No to Violence, Victoria Police and Respect Victoria urge to stay & keep safe during the festive season 

‘Silly Season’ is a term that is fondly used by many of us to describe the summer holiday period, but for some, it can be a dangerous time with rates of family domestic violence sky-rocketing.

The three agencies have come together to raise awareness of how dangerous this time can be and encourage all Victorians to have a Safe Silly Season.

According to data collected by Crime Statistics Agency in 2019 that relates to the number of family violence incidents –including verbal arguments, harassment, property damage, aggravated burglary, theft and IVO breaches – Victoria Police responded to;

No to Violence Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Watt said the family domestic violence sector is no stranger to the spike during this time and is encouraging the community to not be bystanders and support people experiencing and using violence.

“We all like to overindulge a little during Silly Season period and to let off steam. But this does not mean we aren’t accountable for our behaviour.

Respect Victoria Chief Executive Officer Tracey Gaudry said preventing family violence begins with addressing inequalities at home, in relationships and in families.

“From making sure the decision-making is shared equally, to approaching differing opinions with respect, and even sharing the chores, we all have steps we can take to call out our own attitudes and behaviours and those of others.

“Victorians have proven this year that we are capable of coming together to support each other during a crisis, and we must take the same approach to preventing family violence during this festive season,” said Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry.

  • 49 per cent more reports of family domestic violence incidents on Christmas Day than the daily average in 2019.
  • 27 per cent more reports of family domestic violence incidents on Boxing Day than the daily average in 2019.

“The evidence-base demonstrates that family violence is most frequently used by men as a way to exercise power and control over women and children.

“By inviting and engaging men to consider their behaviour and seek meaningful change by calling the Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491), we can reduce repeated incidents of family domestic violence, and provide safer households and communities for women, children and men.”

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Acting Superintendent Marnie Johnstone from Family Violence Command said Victoria Police continues to respond to family violence incidents as a priority, responding to an increasing number of incidents ever year.

“This year has been one unlike any other we’ve seen in Victoria. The Christmas and holiday period might be the first time many people are getting together with family, with new and unique challenges as a result of the pandemic,” A/Supt Johnstone said.

“It’s important to remember that for some people, coming together with family especially after a difficult year, can be a particularly stressful time.

“Addressing and preventing family violence is always a priority for Victoria Police. This time of year serves as an important reminder that family violence is never okay, there is no excuse for abusing a loved one.

“If anyone is concerned about their safety or feels they are at risk in their family circumstances, please seek support.”

The Australian summer is synonymous with cricket and the national body is also showing its support for the campaign.

Cricket Australia Interim Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley said Cricket Australia is very aware and supportive of the Safe Silly Season campaign and preventing family domestic violence through its ongoing partnership with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, with Day 5 gold coin donations from the Boxing Day Test going to the Foundation.

“We want to help share the message that there is no place for violence and harmful attitudes, both on and off the field. It’s been a big year for Victorians and people have the right to be safe and free from violence.

“It’s a timely reminder that we can all make a difference and should have the confidence to call out inappropriate behaviour as well as seek out available support,” said Mr Hockley.

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