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Domestic violence on the rise as more victims flee homes

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FOR some families, the holiday period is a terrifying time of year as tempers boil over.

Murgon's Graham House is already seeing the number of domestic violence victims seeking shelter and assistance increase as Christmas draws closer.

Crimes of domestic violence have become increasingly prominent in the Murgon and Cherbourg area, and this year there was a marked rise in the number of cases brought before the court system.

Murgon Magistrates Court registered nearly 100 more domestic and family violence protection orders than any other South Burnett town in 2014.

The total was up 35 orders on Murgon's 2013 statistics.

Graham House manager Linda O'Hare said the court figures were not surprising and she didn't expect a decrease in victims needing help before the year ended.

"When money is short, love flies out the door and there are so many people in hardship at the moment and I think that's getting worse," Ms O'Hare said.

"When there's bills to pay, tempers get frayed and drug use is on the rise in the area. It all impacts."

Ms O'Hare said Graham House provided shelter, counselling and "whatever we can" to help families of domestic violence.

"I'm thinking of one lady in particular, she had been quite badly injured and her and her children had spent time in hospital," she said.

"We picked up her family from hospital... we got clothes for her and her children, we fed them and we worked with DV Connect to get them right out of the area and get them safe."

Murgon Sergeant Col Jackson said crimes of domestic violence were a constant concern.

"You look at those numbers, we nearly get one a day," Sgt Jackson said.

"It takes up a tremendous amount of time for us, they are pretty regular."

The number of domestic violence orders was highest at Murgon Magistrates Court, but the problem is not specific to one town.

Kingaroy Senior Sergeant Duane Frank said domestic violence was a significant problem across the region.

"It's on the steady increase and there's a range of issues that affect that -economics, the social make-up of the community... a lot of the time it is alcohol related," Snr Sgt Frank said.

"Whilst the majority of incidents we respond to were for behaviour of the male, at times we have the female being the aggressor.

"And at times we've had both (men and women) being equally responsible."

Jim Sloane co-ordinates a program that works with the perpetrators of domestic violence through anger management and counselling.

He works with people from all over the South Burnett and said there had been success stories in rehabilitation, but the aggressors had to acknowledge they needed help.

"We have some great outcomes, but then we have some men that don't really want that much to do with it," he said.

"But a lot of fellas self refer... there's more awareness."

Graham House can be phoned on 4168 2828 and the DV Connect Domestic Violence Hotline is 1800 811 811.

If you are in immediate danger, contact 000.

South Burnett

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