Family violence orders ignored

Breaches of family violence orders have rocketed in Ballarat over the past year.

New Crime Statistic Agency numbers show offenders violated intervention orders up to 825 times in the 12 months to March across the city, up 86 cases on the year before.

Only 291 breaches were reported back in 2012.

Ballarat-based WRISC Family Violence Support spokeswoman Anita Koelle said her group was disgusted by the spike.

“Courts need to provide harsher penalties for breaches and to send a clear message that family violence, in all its guises, is not okay," she said. "We need to take the offending history of perpetrators into account when considering current family violence offences."

The number of recorded breaches also counts repeat offenders.

Victoria Legal Aid's website said intervention orders include measures to stop an offender from using family violence against a protected person, who is usually a woman.

If the offender breaks the conditions of an intervention order police can charge them.

Ms Koelle said the increasing number of breaches also reflected how women feel more empowered to report breaches than in previous years.

“Increased awareness of family violence through media and the Royal Commission and through collaboration of services such as WRISC and Ballarat police makes the process easier and more supportive for women,” she said.

Ballarat police’s Inspector Bruce Thomas agreed and said there was increased public confidence in reporting domestic violence.

"In turn, this causes the number of family violence orders to increase," he said. “Correlating this is the number of breaches, which police hold offenders to account for.”

For help, call the Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732.

Courts need to provide harsher penalties for breaches and to send a clear message that family violence, in all its guises, is not okay - WRISC spokeswoman Anita Koelle