A NEW Family Violence Unit has been established in the Wellington Police Service Area.
Working out of the Sale police station, the Wellington unit is made up of police members who are specially trained to respond to cases of family violence.
Detective Senior Sergeant Christopher Pegg said the team, which became fully operational in September, had been established to provide additional support to the community, which had been serviced by an east Gippsland team since early 2013.
“Police across the state responded to 65,000 family violence incidents last year,” he said.
“Almost half of all assaults across the state were related to family incidents; here in Wellington almost 40 per cent were family violence related.
“Responding to this issue is critical for us,” Detective Sen-Sgt Pegg said.
“Not only does it leave physical scars from injury, but there are ongoing and profound psychological trauma and social costs for victims.
“Our team will be focused on ensuring that victims feel supported once they report.
“We will provide them with referrals to support services and work closely with Department of Human Services on particular cases.
“The East Gippsland team has seen great benefit from guiding and supporting victims through the court process and we intend to also provide this support as a priority.”
Detective Sen-Sgt Pegg said a large part of the team’s focus would also be ensuring that perpetrators were held accountable for their behaviour and repeat offenders were targeted.
“We hope that by improving our response in Wellington more victims, no matter when the violence has occurred, will find the courage and confidence to come forward.”
There are now 32 Family Violence Units across the state. The Wellington Police Service Area covers Briagolong, Heyfield, Maffra, Rosedale, Sale, Stratford, Yarram and Loch Sport.