A dedicated police officer is now embedded within two domestic violence support services in Ipswich and Brisbane as part of a six-month trial program.
Highly trained and specialised police now share the same office space with domestic violence specialists to offer advice to assist staff and victims experiencing often highly emotive and complex circumstances.
Acting Inspector Bernie Quinlan of South Brisbane District says he is looking forward to seeing the results of the collaborative approach.
“We recognise a police station can be an intimidating place for someone who is traumatised to attend and report their abuse,” he says.
“This pilot program puts specialised and passionate officers in a place where victims already feel comfortable and supported.
“There is no requirement for them to engage with police, however our officers will be more accessible for specialist services and victims, should they choose to seek their advice.”
Acting Inspector Quinlan also praised the willingness of support services to partner with police in this initiative.
“We see all too often the effects of abusive and controlling relationships on loved ones and the community as a whole,” he said.
“This partnership shows how it takes all of us working together to create safer households and more respectful relationships.
“Everyone who walks through the doors of these centres should feel heard and supported, it is my expectation the presence of our officers will only add to this.”
This program will initially run for six months before being evaluated and rolled out to more areas across Queensland.
Karyn Walsh CEO of Brisbane Domestic Violence Service said the pilot would be reviewed throughout the program.
“This is not a ‘set-and-forget’ style project – we will be constantly surveying and reviewing the program to ensure we provide the best possible service to our clients and that this pilot enhances their encounter with our service,” she said.
“We want to work with victims to ensure their experience is at the centre of everything we do. They will not be required to speak with police, but it will be invaluable to have police available if that is a path they choose.”
Amie Carrington of the Domestic Violence Action Centre said this collaboration was critical to improving the range of options available to victims.
“This is a valuable step to providing victims who seek our services a more collaborative approach to their support,” Amie said.
“Not every victim is ready to engage police, but to have an officer available on-site for the times when this is needed is really important.
“Putting the needs of victims at the centre of our work helps to ensure the best possible outcomes for victims and their families.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, you should report it to police.
Support and counselling is available from the following agencies:
DVConnect Womensline: 1800 811 811
DVConnect Mensline: 1800 600 636
1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732