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Victoria Police and social workers confront spike in family violence incidents

Published: 12 December 2019

One incident every six minutes.

The latest figures show Victoria Police responded to 82,652 reports of family violence, an increase of more than 6,000 incidents compared to the previous financial year.

In a special talkback forum, host Virginia Trioli was joined in discussion by a representative from Victoria Police's Family Violence Command, social workers, and callers.

Christine Craik, a lecturer in social work at RMIT University, suggested these figures could be "the tip of the iceberg".

"Around 60 per cent don't call the police at all, and those who do call the police, there are multiple incidences of abuse or violence before they make that call," she said.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Dean McWhirter agreed, emphasising "the broad spectrum of family violence covers a range of actual behaviours, not just physical assaults".

Social worker Abbey Newman works with perpetrators and victims of family violence, and provided evidence to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

"We all need to have awareness, [so that] whatever service you hit — relationship counsellors, GPs, hospitals — can recognise educate and direct. It might not be they need to go through police," she said.

Duration: 23min 53sec

Broadcast: Thu 12 Dec 2019, 8:30am

Listen to the interview with Virginia Trioli on the ABC.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers