Domestic violence survivors will be better protected after the Safer Pathways program roll out

SAFER PATHWAYS: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Superintendent Fred Trench, Detective Inspector Ann Joy and Domestic Violence Liaison Officer Lauren Wheeler at the Armidale Local Area Command police station.

SAFER PATHWAYS: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Superintendent Fred Trench, Detective Inspector Ann Joy and Domestic Violence Liaison Officer Lauren Wheeler at the Armidale Local Area Command police station.

NEW England police respond to more than 150 reports of domestic violence every month. 

Now, survivors will have access to holistic support as the Safer Pathways program is rolled out across the region in September.

The program provides a coordinated approach from police, Family and Community Services and Education, healthcare providers, corrections and non-government agencies. 

Armidale Local Area Command Detective Inspector Ann Joy said the program is essential to targeting domestic violence in regional communities.

“It provides us with the capability of a number of strategies, in particular early intervention in partnership with a number of other agencies,” she said. 

“We’ll look at things such as Apprehended Violence Order compliance and we’ll be actively visiting premises where AVO’s are in existence to check conditions are being complied with.”

A benefit of the program is that survivors will no longer be re-traumatised, having to tell their horrific stories to multiple service providers.

Armidale Local Area Command Domestic Violence Liaison Officer Lauren Wheeler said the trauma of story telling can be a barrier to reporting domestic violence.

“It can become very frustrating for victims to initially report, not only to police but then to be contacted by support services to have to retell their stories to a variety of workers that are wanting to help,” she said.

“I think it’s important they don’t have to go through that over and over.”

The state government has pledged to invest another $53 million over four years to the Safer Pathways program.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said the program complemented the reforms made to domestic violence court processes.

“It’s to try and arrest a problem we have in our region, where we have some of the highest instances of domestic violence in the state,” he said.

“I’m very hopeful this program will help protect potential victims in the future but also lock up those perpetrators and send a very strong message to them that domestic violence is just not acceptable.”

The program will roll out in Tamworth, Armidale, Glen Innes, Guyra and Inverell.

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