The disturbing reality of New Year’s Eve
The ushering in of 2021 will for some Australians be their most dangerous night of the year, with domestic and family violence set to skyrocket on New Year's Eve.
New figures reveal police across Australia receive more incident reports on New Year's Day than any other day of the year.
The frightening revelation has prompted family violence organisations to band together and urge Australians to think about how they can support those affected.
The campaign is also encouraging people who use violence to get help to change their behaviour.
Last New Year's Day, Victoria experienced a 111 per cent surge in family domestic violence incidents, with 484 reports to police, up from the daily average of 229.
Queensland had a 112 per cent jump, recording 589 cases, up from the daily average of 277. Meanwhile NSW had 85 per cent more incidents than on any other day, with 159 reported, up from the daily average of 86 cases.
South Australia (36 cases), the Northern Territory (19 cases) and Tasmania (seven) also all recorded a higher number of incidents than usual.
The data, obtained from police and crime statistics, was released by organisations No to Violence, White Ribbon Australia, Voice of Change, Our Watch and 1800RESPECT as part of a joint campaign to highlight how to keep family, friends and community safe.
"If you are using family violence or concerned about your behaviour, make your New Year's resolution to reach out for support," No to Violence chief executive officer Jacqui Watt said.
"It can be really challenging to take that first step, but by seeking support you can help you keep your family safe."
Safe Silly Season campaign ambassador Shaynna Blaze, co-founder and Chairperson of Voice of Change - a not-for-profit that uses the arts to change the cultural attitudes that underpin violence against women - said everyone had a role to play.
Education and conversation is key to putting stop to the cycles that perpetuate family violence, she said.
"We want to put a stop to the cycles that perpetuate family violence and, with cases of family domestic violence spiking over the festive season, there is clearly a cycle that needs to be broken," she said.
"We want to encourage people experiencing violence to reach out for the support they need to stay safe, and to educate those using violence that there is support available to them, and that they can change their behaviour."
White Ribbon Australia executive director Brad Chilcott urged people to look out for friends on New Year's Eve and not condone any disrespect or harassment shown by mates or towards them.
"It's easy to blame the pressures of 2021 or getting a bit loose on New Year's for men's violence - but the reality is that using violence or controlling another person is a choice a man makes because of their sense of entitlement," he said.
Our Watch chief executive officer Patty Kinnersly said research showed violence against women was driven by gender inequality and disrespect against women.
Suggesting alcohol, stress or an event were to blame reinforced a culture that ignored, trivialised and condoned violence against women, she added.
It also removed responsibility of the perpetrator and offered an excuse for unacceptable behaviour, when there was no excuse for abuse.
"In order to prevent violence against all women, we need to prevent it from happening in the first place by promoting respectful relationships in all the places we spend our time," Ms Kinnersly said.
"At home, that looks like couples sharing the challenges of household chores and childcare while supporting each other's careers.
"This must also be reflected across the community, from workplaces to sporting clubs, through stamping out sexual harassment and advancing women's opportunities for leadership.
"Only then can we create a world where women are not only safe, but respected, valued and treated equally."
1800RESPECT general manager Paul Moger said those impacted were not alone, with many specialised services to help during what should be a time of unity, rather than a period where family violence escalates.
Originally published as Disturbing reality about New Year's Eve