Taking the proactive approach

VICTORIA Police are taking a stand to break the cycle of family violence in the Latrobe Valley, through the setting up of its Family Violence Unit.

The unit, which will go through a 12-month pilot stage, will soon be officially launched and is the culmination of about 15 months of hard work and dedication.

“Latrobe Valley ranks seventh highest for domestic violence in the state,” Inspector Mick West told The Express last week.

“Along with the Chief Commissioner of Police, we think it’s a major problem for the community.

“We have been working for some time to set up the unit, with a group of skilled people working together to break the cycle to make the community better.”

Insp West said the setting up of the unit coincided with the freeing-up of additional resources following the transfer of the Moe D24 police communications centre to Ballarat.

The Latrobe Highway Patrol unit, presently located in the Latrobe Valley Police Complex in Morwell, will be moved to the former D24 centre in Moe.

The new unit will move into its space.

The Family Violence Unit aims to be a “one-stop shop” for family violence issues, with one sergeant in charge and four senior constables assisted by two constables for its initial staffing.

“An advisor, youth resource officer and other members of the proactive team will be part of the unit,” Insp West said.

While Latrobe is not the only group across the state with a family violence unit, Insp West said the groups and processes were tailored to respond to local issues.

“We’re all very excited about this; we think we can have a real impact over the next 12 months and go some way in reducing incidences of violence,” he said.

“Together with our partners, we want to make strong, quick referrals to service providers in the community.

“The setting up of this unit is highly significant; we will tackle issues head-on, which is the best way.”

Insp West said the Valley had the “whole spectrum” of family violence.

“More reports have come out into the public domain recently, resulting in a reported upsurge of family violence, but we believe people are getting braver, due to what I like to believe is the good support mechanism in Latrobe,” he said.