A BALLARAT family which has struggled through generations of family violence have spoken out about the toll it has taken on them.
The family, who The Courier has chosen not to name, have spoken out as new statistics reveal the nature of family violence throughout the city.
Sobering new Crime Statistic Agency data paints a grim picture of Ballarat with police called to an average five incidents every day, while local courts have been swamped with requests for intervention orders relating to family incidents.
The figures reveal that in the 12 months to June 30 this year, Ballarat police responded to 1913 family violence incidents.
Of those, 77 times an ambulance was needed to transport a victim to hospital.
The figures also show that there were 1597 family violence related intervention orders applied for in the same 12 months.
The mother of the family, who herself has left an abusive relationship said there was no doubt there was a shame that existed around domestic violence
“There is still a stigma around,” she said, It’s `you must have asked for it’, `you must have made him angry for him to hit you’, `you wore a short skirt so you’re asking to get raped’, that’s all just ridiculous.”
A daughter who has witnessed her mother and other members of the family fall victims said that it was hard to believe it had happened to her family.
“We’ve been made the enemy, when all we’ve ever wanted to do is look out for each other,” she said.
“A lot went on behind the scenes, people can be manipulative and you fall for it. I was in denial that it was happening for a long time.”
Ballarat Superintendent Jenny Wilson who spoke out recently of her own history of family violence when she was a child, said she was not at all surprised by the figures.
“I can certainly believe that it is five a day, simply from what our officers experience on a day-to-day basis,” Superintendent Wilson said.
“There’s actually some argument as to whether statistics like this are the best indicator as so much of it goes under reported within our community.
“We have a way to go before we reach a peak in reporting. We are certainly aware we have many isolated people within the community who have less ability to be in contact with services that can assist them.
Superintendent Wilson said one of the key focuses for police was to work with community organisations who deal day-to-day with victims and their families.
“We are getting really good at working with agencies in order to get the full picture and get the response right,” she said.
“We’ve demonstrated that a collaborative response is the best response.
“It was important that after the Royal Commission the State Government put funding into resources such as the creation of the Family Violence Unit as we see here in Ballarat. That unit is still gaining more resources and our front line staff have also seen extra training in dealing with family violence incidents, something we see as a priority.
“I’m proud that Ballarat has been a pilot site for our family violence intervention models over the years.
If you are experiencing family violence, contact the National Sexual Assault, domestic and family violence counselling service on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
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