A six per cent increase in domestic violence related assault across the state over the last 24 months shows more work must be done.
That's the opinion of Ulla Inki-Gilabert, the acting CEO of Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services.
The figures were included in the latest round of data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. The data is to March 2019, comparing data over 24 and 60 months.
The NSW statistics for the 24 month period show a 5.8 per cent increase in indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences and six per cent increase over the 60 month period.
In Port Macquarie-Hastings, the 24 and 60 month statistics are listed as stable however there is a 60.3 per cent increase in indecent assault, act of indecency and other sexual offences in the previous 24 months.
Ms Inki-Gilabert said many domestic and family violence incidents go unreported.
"Governments must continue to fund support services to assist those who experience violence, as well as prevention programs that challenge violence-supporting attitudes and behaviours," she said.
"While reports of domestic violence related assault are stable locally, the numbers are still unacceptable.
"Last year Liberty supported more than 730 women and children experiencing domestic and family violence in our community.
"We need to consider that many domestic and family violence incidents go unreported."
Ms Inki-Gilabert said domestic violence is not just physical violence and assault.
It can also be financial, psychological, religious, cultural and spiritual, social and cyber abuse, she said.
"We want everyone to know that support is available.
We want everyone to know that support is available.Ulla Inki-Gilabert
"The team of domestic and family violence specialists at Liberty can assist women to improve their safety, access housing services, and link in with other services such as legal, health, employment and education."
The CEO said Liberty also provides men's behaviour change programs, Engage2Change and Fixed Address, and offers domestic violence education workshops for local organisations.
But Port Macquarie's domestic violence champion, Leonie McGuire, questions the value of programs aimed at perpetrators.
Ms McGuire was presented the Edna Ryan Award for her work in domestic violence in November 2018.
She says the state government has continued to put obstacles in front of women and children looking to flee violent homes.
"Funding has been cancelled for the specialist family court domestic violence support scheme which costs a mere $120,000 a year to maintain," she said.
"It would be very simple for the government to step up and demonstrate its duty of care to women and children. It is a basic human rights issue.
"Already this year some 28 women have been murdered by men."
Ms McGuire said the government also needed to separate homelessness from domestic violence in relation to accommodation and stop funding preventative programs for perpetrators.
"The government's signature programs, including pathways, are a failure," she said.
The government's signature programs, including pathways, is a failure.Leonie McGuire
"We need a return of recurrent state funding to the network of specialist feminist domestic violence refuges which existed in NSW before the coalition smashed them in 2014."
Port Macquarie MP Leslie William said the premier has made addressing domestic and family violence a priority.
"The government is committed to a reduction in the number of domestic violence reoffenders in NSW by 25 per cent by 2023," she said.
"This number has fallen in two consecutive years. The government has invested a record $431 million dollars over four years to address this scourge.
"This is enabling pro-active policing high risk DV offenders in the community and increasing behavioural interventions for those in custody as well as crisis accommodation and specialist homelessness services.
"The government undertakes rigorous tendering processes for the delivery of domestic and family violence services, delivered by a range of organisations."
If you need support, call Liberty on 6583 2155 or 1800RESPECT.
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