Hundreds make cries for help
DOMESTIC violence rates in Ipswich have skyrocketed with the support services recording a staggering 346% increase in new cases in the last three months.
The Ipswich Women's Centre Against Domestic Violence (IWCADV) confirm the service actively helped 611 new women between July and September this year compared with 137 in the same period last year.
As men around the country pledge to stand against domestic violence as part of White Ribbon Day, the new figures paint a bleak picture of the scope of the problem in Ipswich.
IWCADV community development worker Phillipa Johnson said the explosion in numbers meant the support service was at now breaking point.
"Domestic and family violence is definitely a growing problem in Ipswich," Ms Johnson said.
"In addition to the new cases we had to turn away 42 women and 19 children in the last quarter because we are at capacity.
"Often it takes so much courage for a woman to come forward and say 'this is what I'm experiencing'.
"It's really heartbreaking for us to not be able to support them."
The IWCADV service receives referrals from the Queensland Court system and other support services, such as Lifeline, as well as their own crisis line.
In the three months leading up to last years White Ribbon Day 1000 people were provided with personal support by the service with the number growing to 1846 this year.
Ms Johnson couldn't pinpoint why the numbers have grown so quickly but said help was needed now to stop women and children falling through the cracks.
"I think it has been a hidden problem for a long time and we're beginning to see more and more people recognise what domestic and family violence is," she said.
"There are a lot of women who still suffer in silence though.
"There are a lot of women who wouldn't consider coming forward even if they are victims of extreme violence."
State Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller said the rise in numbers was a concern but could point towards an increased awareness of the problem.
"I think there should be an analysis of why those numbers have increased, particularly so starkly in the last 12 months." Mrs Miller said.
Ms Johnson said she hoped the numbers would support a case for increased funding from the Department of Communities to meet the growing need.
Women requiring support should contact the Domestic Violence Connect Women's Line on 1800 811 811
WHITE RIBBON DAY
- White Ribbon Day is a time to celebrate the men who lead the challenge to never commit, excuse, or remain silent about violence against women.
- Swear an oath against domestic violence at White Ribbon.