Family Violence Unit tackles issues

IN the first month of operation, the Latrobe Family Violence Unit has charged at least 20 offenders for various forms of family violence.

According to Sergeant Craig van Breugel, who oversees the unit, the breaches included assault, breaching intervention orders and threats to kill, among others.

“In the first four weeks we took out 11 intervention orders and our dedicated response unit attended six incidents in the first weekend after the unit was launched,” Sgt van Breugel said.

“We have not had any negative feedback about (the unit).”

Sgt van Breugel said members with the unit had received positive feedback from both partner agencies and families involved as there was consistency with the people they were dealing with.

“They see the same people dedicated to the issue, so we’re building better relationships; there’s a better level of cooperation,” he said.

Sgt van Breugel said the dedicated family violence unit meant related issues could be dealt with efficiently and expediently.

“We’ve had a good impact at court, working with prosecutors and agencies to get a better uptake of orders; less cases are being struck out or adjourned,” he said.

Sgt van Breugel said having the designated unit also meant general duties officers were freed up to tend to other matters.

Latrobe police service area Inspector Mick West said while the unit was still in its early days, it had an “extremely large amount of work”, with high demands placed on the unit.

“Members are developing and building their knowledge bank, skill sets and expertise,” Insp West said, adding he was “very ecstatic” with the Family Violence Unit.