DOMESTIC violence-related assault rates are at a 17-year high in Port Stephens.
In the year to June, 343 incidents of domestic violence-related assault was recorded by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, up from 295 the year before and the highest on record for 17 years.
Port police responded to 120 domestic violence call outs in August, resulting in 53 apprehended violence orders and a 79 per cent charge rate.
“Port Stephens consistently achieves the state benchmark in regards to prosecutions for domestic violence-related incidents,” said Port Stephens police Acting Inspector Matthew Moroney.
“We are one of the better performing commands in the region in relation to achieving outcomes.
“We have a focus on domestic violence and try new initiatives constantly and review our response to domestic violence incidents officer-to-officer.”
Sue Pollock, the manager of Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services, the Port’s leading provider for homelessness and domestic violence services, said about 90 per cent of the people they saw had, or were experiencing, domestic violence.
“In the last year, our service saw 1270 women and children in Port Stephens who are in, or are suffering the impact of, domestic violence, of which 223 were actually homeless.
“This is not counting families who access our other services such as lawyers, group or cultural programs,” she said.
“The statistics would be much higher.”
Ms Pollock said the service worked with many families dealing with the impact of domestic violence, including the offender.
The service referred men who perpetrated domestic violence to one of the only programs in the Hunter – Taking Responsibility by Relationships Australia.
“Unfortunately, there are not many services outside the corrections system for perpetrators of DV in the Hunter,” Ms Pollock said.
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