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Domestic violence reporting up 40 per cent on Gold Coast since police taskforce established.

By Kristina Harazim

The number of people reporting domestic violence to police has increased by 40 per cent on the Gold Coast since a dedicated police taskforce was set up in the wake of public killings.

Tara Brown and Karina Lock suffered violent deaths within 48 hours of each other last September, allegedly at the hands of their ex-partners.

Ms Brown had sought help from police on domestic-violence-related issues days before she was allegedly chased by her ex while driving, and beaten with a metal plate after her car upturned.

In January, the Gold Coast Domestic and Family Violence Task Force was established.

It is made up of nine detectives and plain clothes officers who are based in Surfers Paradise, headed by Detective Inspector Marc Hogan.

They support women and children at the domestic violence court, attend the more volatile domestic violence callouts, and review victim complaints to police.

Increased demand for new domestic violence court

Inspector Hogan said the taskforce had several aims, including making women more comfortable in coming forward and to hold perpetrators to account.

“We recognise that we’re doing things a lot better now than what we did then,” he said.

“That’s our aim — to improve and keep improving. I think in the long term we will have a greater impact, once people understand that if they want to commit offences around domestic and family violence, they’re going to be held to account.”

The Gold Coast Domestic Violence Prevention Centre (GCDVPC) was one of the local agencies the taskforce developed a more collaborative and proactive relationship with since its launch.

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“I know now that I can just pick up the phone and get someone on the end of the phone who can assist with whatever my request is,” the centre’s response manager Michelle Adam said.

These women all died in 2015: ‘they are not just statistics’

These Australian women all died in 2015. What they have in common is police have laid charges against their partners or ex-partners.

Demand for its services had also risen in response to the trial of a dedicated domestic violence court at Southport.

“With the word getting out and the education about domestic violence, people are coming forward because they realise that they are actually experiencing that,” Ms Adam said.

Achieving cultural change, in and outside the police service, would take much longer.

Centacare regional manager Sue Lloyd said the organisation’s behavioural change program for domestic violence offenders was working towards that end.

They try to get offenders to think about why they do what they do.

“What we’re doing is opening people’s thinking process, challenging their behaviours,” Ms Lloyd said.

“It’s not just about changing the men; it’s about changing the social attitude towards domestic violence and helping the broader community understand what is domestic violence and that it’s not acceptable in this state of our lives.”

This post originally appeared on  ABC News.

© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.

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