Welfare concern

December 02, 2016

Concerned for welfare: Family Violence Unit Sergeant Michelle De Araugo wants everyone to have a happy and safe Christmas.

Shepparton police are urging people to seek support during the festive season as the cases of family violence are likely to climb.

Shepparton police Family Violence Unit Sergeant Michelle De Araugo said during December police often saw an increase in family violence because of financial stress, children finishing school for the year and increased alcohol consumption from Christmas parties.

A Crime Statistics Agency research paper released Thursday found that one in five alleged family violence incidents recorded by police during 2014 and 2015 involved definite alcohol use by a family violence perpetrator or both parties.

Sgt De Araugo said stress could put a lot of pressure on people’s relationships.

‘‘These extra stresses may not be the cause of family violence but what I’m suggesting is that these are extra pressures that can escalate it really, really quickly,’’ she said.

Sgt De Araugo said because of this they wanted to give people coping tools for handling stress during December.

She said it was important to recognise when you were at crisis point and take a walk to clear your head instead of doing something you would regret.

‘‘That anger is not going to go away if you’re drunk ... what makes it go away is some breathing techniques and going for a walk or some time-out strategies or giving each other some space or respect, that helps to diminish family violence,’’ she said

Sgt De Araugo said there were many services people could access for help.

‘‘We have some amazing support services in the Shepparton community that are local; it’s just initiating help can be very, very difficult for people sometimes,’’ she said.

Sgt De Araugo said for those who did not want to speak face-to-face to someone there were phone apps, websites and online support groups they could look at.

‘‘You can open up these and have straight away, 24 hours a day, someone to say, ‘I know what you’re going through and I can give you this support and share this experience’,’’ she said.

Online resources include:

● Reach Out: Provides people with phone numbers, forums and information and can be assessed at

● Safe Steps: A 24-hour family violence crisis service that can be phoned on 1800015188 or visit

● The Look Out: A place for family violence information, which can be found at

● Life Line: A 24-hour crisis support phone line that can be phoned on 131114 or visit

● 1800 Respect: A telephone or internet chat counselling and referral service that can be phoned on 1800737732, or visit

Also has an app called Daisy that can be downloded on Google Play or at the Apple App Store.

● Centre Against Sexual Assault: Phone 58312343.

● White Ribbon:

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