Thursday, 6 September 2007

Spence commends police initiative to combat domestic violence


Police in the indigenous community of Normanton are achieving great success in combating domestic violence, Police Minister Judy Spence said today.

Ms Spence said a community based campaign developed by local officers, titled 'Domestic Violence - it's not our game!' has significantly reduced the incidence of domestic violence in the North-West Queensland town.

"It is a sad fact, that domestic violence is especially prominent in some indigenous communities in the state's north," Ms Spence said.

"In Normanton, where 60% of the population is indigenous, there were over 300 reported incidents of domestic violence in 2006 and one in three adults in the town were also involved in protection orders, either as the respondent, the aggrieved or the named person.

"Police in the town are to be congratulated for taking it upon themselves to find a new way to address this tragic trend.

"The 'Domestic Violence - it's not our game!' campaign has allowed the local community to take ownership of the issue, and send a message that domestic violence is unacceptable."

Ms Spence said, under the guidance of the local Officer in Charge Sergeant Dave Rutherford, police are now working with the local rugby league team, the Normanton Stingers, to promote the non-violence message.

"The campaign commenced in March this year, with members of the Normanton Stingers and their supporters wearing jerseys and wristbands carrying the campaign logo, and with banners displayed at all football games," Ms Spence said.

"Furthermore, team members have agreed to make a personal commitment to desist from domestic violence - and have decided that if an individual commits domestic violence they will be subject to playing bans and ultimately excluded from the team.

"Team players are also appearing in television advertisements on the Imparja network promoting the non-violence message, and the message is finally getting through.

"Between March and July this year there has been a 64% reduction in breaches of existing protection orders, compared with the same period last year.

"This is an excellent result and I commend police and the local community for their dedication to making a different."

Ms Spence said it is expected other sporting teams in North-West Queensland will also adopt this program, and there is the potential for this project to become an influential anti-violence campaign within Indigenous communities across Australia.

Source: Ministerial Media Release

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