Sobering insight into the frontline of domestic violence

A Townsville police officer has opened up on the complexities facing frontline cops who respond to domestic violence incidents.

A White Ribbon Australia poll found 42 per cent of men aged 18-34 did not consider physical violence such as punching or hitting to be domestic violence, while 44 per cent said the same of non-consensual sexual activity.

It's sobering insights like this that first responders are confronted with all too often, and a situation not unfamiliar to police officers like Senior Constable Andrew Grant.

He said it could be challenging to navigate the complexities of individual cases.

"Approaching domestic violence incidents needs to be more of a victim-centric approach as opposed to, say, arresting an offender for something non-DV related," he said.

"It brings you down to earth a little bit. It is hard, because you are looking at it from a neutral standpoint, so to speak, as an outsider looking in when you first arrive. Then when you get there, you have to put yourself in the victim's shoes, look at it through their eyes, and see how you would feel, to work out what they need from a policing point of view.

"There's been DV-related incidents that put things into perspective when consider­ing what these people have been going through, whether it be a single incident or stuff that's transpired over 10, 15 years."

Senior Constable Grant said responding to domestic violence needed to be driven through prevention.

"We can't solve domestic violence in isolation. We've got a role to play but it's a community problem, government priority.

"I might go to a job and it might just be a couple having an argument or something like that, and they might tell you that their relationship could be on the rocks.

"If we can get in there early and educate them on what domestic violence is so everyone in the family knows then hopefully they don't go down that path because they both know what DV is."

Senior Constable Grant said domestic violence uncovered the fragility and vulnerability of humanity and it was important to take that into account when coming into contact with people on what are often their worst days.

Originally published as Sobering insight into the frontline of domestic violence

Senior Constable Andrew Grant.
Senior Constable Andrew Grant.

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