Tele/ The Coffs Coast Advocate: Coffs cops urge locals to join the conversation on tackling domestic violence

Domestic assaults have been on the increase over the years, and local police are hoping to open up the conversation with the public.Jasmine MinhasFollow@JasmineSMS2 min readApril 27, 2021 – 10:04AM0 comments

Senior Sgt. Michael Jones, Insp. Brendan Gorman and A/Sgt Daniel Dunn at a previous Coffee with a Cop event held in Woolgoolga.

Senior Sgt. Michael Jones, Insp. Brendan Gorman and A/Sgt Daniel Dunn at a previous Coffee with a Cop event held in Woolgoolga.

Local police are cracking down on the issue of domestic violence on the Coffs Coast – and they’re calling on community members to join the conversation.

With May being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Coffs/Clarence Police District will be holding a special event and are encouraging the public to attend and discuss ways in which the community can work together to reduce violent crimes.

According to the latest crime statistics, a total of 527 domestic assaults were reported to police in Coffs during 2020.

The figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research also revealed that domestic violence in Coffs has increased by 4.2 per cent per year over the course of the last decade.

Coffs/Clarence Crime Co-ordinator, Acting Sergeant Daniel Dunn, said it was important to spread the message of just how vital it was for victim survivors to tell police about the crimes – as many go unreported.

Coffs-Clarence Police Superintendent Steve Clarke, NSW Police Force regional domestic violence co-ordinator Kiah Bowen and community representatives came together to help spread the message to say 'No' to domestic violence as part of a campaign last year. Photo: Bill North

Coffs-Clarence Police Superintendent Steve Clarke, NSW Police Force regional domestic violence co-ordinator Kiah Bowen and community representatives came together to help spread the message to say ‘No’ to domestic violence as part of a campaign last year. Photo: Bill North

A recent report commissioned by a number of peak bodies including the NSW Council of Social Service only up to 40 per cent of victim survivors report the crimes.

“The aim of the event is to raise awareness of domestic and family violence and the promote the positive impact that reporting incidents has on reducing crime in the community,” Coffs/Clarence Crime Co-ordinator, Acting Sergeant Daniel Dunn explained.

“The public are welcome to come and have free coffee and talk about ways in which we can all work together to reduce domestic and family violence.”

Local police have launched a series of initiatives over the last year in a bid to crack down on the violent crimes. Amid the pandemic last year, police and community organisations launched a new DV campaign to spread awareness during a period of time when many families were forced to self-isolate.

Coffs-Clarence Police Superintendent Steve Clarke and NSW Police Force regional domestic violence co-ordinator Kiah Bowen led a campaign to help spread the message to say 'No' to domestic violence last year. Photo: Bill North

Coffs-Clarence Police Superintendent Steve Clarke and NSW Police Force regional domestic violence co-ordinator Kiah Bowen led a campaign to help spread the message to say ‘No’ to domestic violence last year. Photo: Bill North

Details of hotlines and services were passed on through the community through different and innovative ways with the support of local restaurants and businesses, including through the distribution of takeaway coffee cups, posters and stickers, on the side of buses, and on sixteen highway banners sponsored by Coffs Harbour City Council.

Coffs/Clarence police also undertook a DV crackdown which saw a total of 19 people arrested for the violent offences, and a total of 18 arrested for breaching an AVO. Over 150 people were spoken to over 16 days, in support of the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.

Meanwhile the Coffs Coast is leading the charge on consent education through the North Coast Love Bites Expansion Strategy, which will see the Love Bites program run in almost all local high schools this year.

The program teaches teens about respectful relationships – tackling otherwise taboo topics of violence and consent.

The Coffee with a Cop community engagement event will be held at Silvio’s at Park Beach Plaza on May 21. There will be a strong police presence for the hour long event, which runs from 10am-11am

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