Unsafe in the home

AS PUBLIC place assaults dominate the headlines, the violence hidden in the home outpaces it by about 300 per cent in Tasmania.

In the five months to November, there were 904 family violence incidents statewide - excluding arguments - compared with 338 public assaults. 

In the North there were 229 domestic violence matters, including 27 listed as serious.

In that time there were 93 public place assaults. 

Statewide, 93 per cent of family violence led to arrests while 17 matters in the North involved weapons.

There were children present at 159 incidents, or 69 per cent, in the North.

Since 2005 and the introduction of the Safe At Home program, Tasmania Police said domestic violence had declined, however under-reporting remained an issue.

``It's not drastically trending down, it tends to remain relatively consistent, but there is an overall trend downward,'' said Sergeant Darren Hill, who heads up Tasmania Police's Northern family violence response. 

``A family violence counselling service may give a differing opinion as to whether it's trending down or whether it's becoming somewhat less reported to police.''

Sergeant Hill said some people became disillusioned with court outcomes, discouraging them from further reporting of family violence.

``That certainly occurs,'' he said.

Family violence protocols were ``hammered'' in to police recruits at the academy and all officers are trained to handle complaints.

Under the Safe at Home legislation, police are required to take a proactive stance on family violence intervention, arrest and prosecution. Safe at Home also led to the creation of specialised Victim Safety Response Teams, which are meant to carry out detailed investigations and handle more complex offences such as stalking.

They also provide oversight  to uniform officers who are the first responders to family violence. 

The teams had its number halved following police budget cuts in 2012.

pbillings@examiner.com.au

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