Domestic violence happens everywhere but the further a victim is from help, the more serious their plight.
The impact of geographical isolation on women living in violent relationships will be explored at a public forum at Murray Bridge tomorrow.
Desi Alexandridis, Senior Manager, of Centacare’s Domestic Violence & Homelessness Services, will speak about local needs and service responses, and how we are working creatively on the frontline to keep victims of all ages safe.
Just as perpetrators exploited their victims’ isolation, Desi said the tyranny of distance and conservatism of regional towns also put caseworkers’ safety at risk.
“There is limited accountability for perpetrators whose actions often go unchecked because they are out of sight,’’ she said.
“This is exacerbated by increased opportunity for surveillance of victims by perpetrators and associates, and a lack of anonymity and privacy when accessing police, court and support services.’’
South Australian Police (SAPOL) will lead the forum at Unity College from 6.30pm to educate the public on how to recognise signs of domestic and family abuse, and empower victims to seek help.
About 80 per cent of regional referrals across Centacare’s domestic violence services come from SAPOL’s Family Violence Investigation Service.
Based at Murray Bridge, Centacare’s Murray Mallee Adelaide Hills Domestic Violence Service averages 30 new referrals a month.
In 2014/2015, the service supported 352 clients with two full-time staff working across 28,000 square kilometres and a population of 114,000.
Workers case manage victims for the time it takes to mitigate risk and apply safety planning.
“The victims are usually at high or imminent risk of harm and death, with immediate and complex needs,’’ Desi said.
“Women and children at the lower part of the preventative end need help too, and more and more time is being diverted away from them.”