The rise in domestic violence offences across the region has prompted local support services and police to work together to reduce family-related violence.
"It is certainly a state-wide focus for the police," said Inspector Peter O'Reilly, the crime manager for the Mid North Coast Police District.
"We strongly encourage anyone, whether they're a victim or a witness to domestic violence, to contact the police so that we can intervene and prevent the offending behaviours."
CEO of Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services Kelly Lamb said domestic violence has been increasing every year in the Port Macquarie-Hastings community.
"Last financial year Liberty supported 1200 women and children experiencing domestic and family violence in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area," she said.
"Over the past two years of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in both the number of incidents and the complexity of violence, with financial hardship and isolation being contributing factors of violence.
"The current housing crisis is making things even harder, with rising rents and few properties available, meaning many women and children may be staying with the perpetrator because they cannot find an alternative safe place to stay."
Insp O'Reilly said police have also noticed an increase in domestic violence crimes in the region.
"We have seen an increase in reported domestic violence, and we've been working with partner agencies and support agencies to encourage victims to come forward," he said.
"We certainly don't, and will not, tolerate domestic violence of any form, whether physical or psychological abuse, and we continue to work to make sure that people can live safely within their own homes."
Mid North Coast Police are currently working with Liberty on a pilot program to divert domestic violence offenders from the criminal justice system long-term.
"We're trying to break some of those long term cycles of violence and have the offenders realise the effects of what they are doing and understand that it is wrong," Insp O'Reilly said.
"We do not offer this program to the high-risk offenders, but we are trying to work with some of the others who may not be going to jail to try to educate them before they do."
Mrs Lamb said Liberty encourages anyone who is experiencing violence in any form - physical, verbal or psychological - to reach out.
"We can help women take steps towards a life free from violence by working with them to build a safety plan, find secure safe housing, and access a range of support services," she said.
"Everyone in our community has a role to play in preventing domestic violence. Our Everybody's Business program helps local workplaces, schools and community groups understand their obligations and recognise and respond safely to support those who may be experiencing violence."
If you need support or would like to find out about our workplace program, call Liberty on 6583 2155.
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