Domestic violence hotline DV Connect takes 40% more calls

ROSIE Batty and Quentin Bryce are having an enormous impact on Queensland's domestic violence hotline.

Ms Batty's inspirational response to the murder of her son Luke by his father and Ms Bryce's lengthy investigation into family assaults are inspiring more women to ask for help.

DV Connect, which provides around-the-clock support for domestic violence victims through its Womensline service, is taking 40% more calls from rural, regional and metropolitan areas.

The service, which operates from a small office on Brisbane CBD's outskirts, has had to employ 11 extra counsellors to cope with the demand.

The State Government will give DV Connect an extra $1.5 million to help pay for the new staff and fund emergency accommodation and other services for clients escaping violent situations.

DV Connect CEO Diane Mangan said the community was talking about domestic violence and that was leading to more people asking for help.

"We had a massive spike overnight. It just went through the roof in October," Ms Mangan said.

"The only thing I can think of is that the announcement of the (Queensland domestic violence) taskforce was in late September.

"The Rosie Batty effect was still gathering momentum around the country. People were still shocked by the death of Luke Batty and Rosie's ability to really talk about the violence she had endured.

"And the high-number of deaths that started - we're getting double the number of deaths this year than last year."

Ms Mangan said it was pleasing to know that more women were finding the strength to leave their abusive partners.

"We're very happy that women are hearing about us," she said.

"These are not increases in domestic violence that I can speak to. It's increased awareness."

The State Government is considering 140 recommendations from the Not Now, Not Ever report, which was delivered in February to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk by Ms Bryce, who led the domestic violence taskforce.

Ms Palaszczuk last week told APN Newsdesk that money would likely be set aside in her first state budget to fund some of the recommendations.

Alluding to the trial of a domestic-violence-specific court, Ms Palaszczuk also confirmed she would like to see respectful relationship classes rolled out across the state's public schools.

 

Australian Regional Media, publisher of this newspaper and 11 other regional dailies across Queensland and News South Wales, has been campaigning for both of these over the past few months as part of the Terror at Home series.

Since coming to power at the start of the year, the state government has formed a committee to examine family violence prevention and committed about $49 million for support services.

About 34 Australians are believed to have died as a result of domestic violence this year.

In Queensland, police respond to about 180 family assaults daily.

"Domestic violence is a scourge on our state and we must all work together to tackle this terrible problem," Ms Palaszczuk said yesterday during a tour of DV Connect.

Minister for Women, Shannon Fentiman, said DV Connect's counsellors gave victims support and hope.

"Having confidential and easily accessible support available 24 hours a day can make all the difference to women experiencing domestic and family violence," Ms Fentiman said.

"Increased awareness of domestic violence issues is playing a part in the rising demand for services, so it is vital that when we encourage people to trust their instinct and speak out, we have the services there to help them."

Womensline provides free and confidential telephone information, advice and referrals.

Ms Palaszczuk attended a candlelight vigil in Brisbane late on Wednesday for domestic violence victims.

For support call 1800 811 811.

- APN NEWSDESK


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