By Shepparton News

Victoria Police has come a long way in developing our responses to family violence, raising community awareness and challenging attitudes supporting violence and we will continue to work hard to ensure victims feel more comfortable in coming forward to report incidents to police.

We have established an enhanced investigative approach to family violence with the recent introduction of Family Violence Investigation Units.

The FVIUs are made up of dedicated detectives and intelligence practitioners.

The units will be led by 21 detective senior sergeants across Victoria. They started in their roles in July to provide a specialist response to victims of family violence.

The FVIUs have three main functions: to undertake serious and complex investigations; manage high-risk, complex and cold cases; and support general duties police and specialist units.

Deployed across Victoria, these trained specialist investigators will understand the complexities of family violence, ensure effective risk assessment, evidence collection and use, and accurately identify primary aggressors.

By 2020, there will be about 230 trained specialist investigators and 32 intelligence analysts deployed across the state to support this important work in identifying and investigating high-risk family violence incidents.

They will focus on the needs of Victorians facing additional vulnerabilities including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities, young and older people and people with a disability.

Violence against women and children is unacceptable and preventable.

Violence against women is an epidemic that we have to bring to an end.

We all have a role to play in changing the attitudes that create a culture where violence against women and children is trivialised and even encouraged in some instances.

We have to ensure that our children understand what it means to have respectful relationships.

Greater Shepparton had 1463 FV incidents in the 2017-2018 reporting period.

The ED3 Family Violence Investigation Unit incorporate three main LGAs — Greater Shepparton, Mitchell and Benalla.

These LGAs are represented in the top 10 of family violence incident rates per 100000 of population when compared against the other 79 LGA. (CVS 2018)

If you are a victim of family violence, please report the matter to your local police or a specialist family violence support agency.

Locally in Shepparton, some of the support services are Primary Care Connect, VincentCare’s Marian Community, Rumbalara, Child FIRST, Child Protection, The Bridge, FamilyCare, and Relationships Australia.

The police can assist you with support and link you in to the relevant family violence specialist service.

They will be able to ensure there are appropriate civil protection orders in place and if need be, make application for these orders on your behalf.

The police can also hold the perpetrators to account by ensuring that all criminal incidents relating to family violence are investigated.

I encourage you all to take the time to have a think and reflect upon your own behaviour and the way to treat the women in your life. What can you do every day to promote respect towards women? Understand family violence, educate yourself on the topic.

Talk about family violence with your friends and children. If you identify disrespectful behaviour, change it. If you see a mate acting inappropriately don’t be afraid to call them out for their poor behaviour, check yourself and, more importantly, check on your mates.

If you recognise the signs of family violence you will be more aware and can offer support.

Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Together we can stop violence against women and make a difference.

Always remember, if someone is in immediate danger, phone 000.