Domestic violence order breaches increase

DOMESTIC violence offences are on the rise in the South Burnett, but it doesn't mean there are more offenders.

Since the 2015 Not Now, Not Ever report on ending domestic violence in Queensland, domestic violence order breaches and orders have gone up significantly.

According to the Queensland Magistrates Court annual reports for 2014-15 financial year the total number of domestic violence orders in South Burnett courts was 398.

In the 2015-16 financial year that number jumped to 603.

Griffith University domestic violence expert Kathleen Baird said the increase correlated with a heightened awareness of domestic violence and higher amounts of reporting, not necessarily more offenders.

Dr Baird said the increase in orders often occurred when a murder or homicide happened.

"My feeling is that women go, 'Oh my god, that could have been me',” she said.

"There is an increase in reporting rates from women and what we've got now is a more robust system, more men are being given domestic violence orders, things are moving faster through the court system.

"Women are feeling more able to report domestic violence, it's not any one thing, it's a combination of a few things that have come out of the Not Now, Not Ever report and the heightened awareness of domestic violence in the press.

"When you think altogether we are seeing the increase, we are hearing about it more.”

Dr Baird said the higher numbers of orders did not surprise her because of what's happened in Queensland in the last 18 months.

"There is growing awareness where it was once hidden or not seen as serious, we are learning all the time about what the indicators of domestic violence are and taking it seriously,” she said.

"Women are starting to feel like there are more places to support them.”

South Burnett

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