Whitsunday police Sargent Simon Walter at the Whitsunday Police Station front counter. He has been a DV liason officer for 12 years and is here to raise awareness this month.
Whitsunday police Sargent Simon Walter at the Whitsunday Police Station front counter. He has been a DV liason officer for 12 years and is here to raise awareness this month. Jessica Lamb

Drunk attack no excuse for DV

PROSERPINE court sees it all too often: Victims of domestic violence offences are attacked while the perpetrator is drunk and defence lawyers offer it as antecedents for the charge.

As Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month draws to a close, Whitsunday Police domestic violence liaison officer Sergeant Simon Walters has a strong message for the community.

"Alcohol and drugs are no excuse for any criminal behaviour,” Sgt Walthers said.

"Anecdotal evidence from victims of domestic violence has said drugs and alcohol doesn't excuse the behaviour and it doesn't alter the person.

"The person is still a controlling person, still a perpetrator and alcohol merely eases the pain of the guilt.

"Quite often it is the case many perpetrators are not intoxicated at the time.

"Some are but you wouldn't call them out-of- control drunk.

"A person intentionally becomes intoxicated, whether it be by drugs or alcohol, and they are still liable for punishment if they commit any offences.”

While Sgt Walters acknowledged the issue as a complex one, he said it all came down to choice.

"For example, if you are someone who gets angry when drinking rum, then don't drink rum,” he said.

"One factor which has come into the mix these days is ice use; it does bring about unpredictable, violent and psychotic behaviour and intensifies paranoia.

"Arresting our way way out of domestic violence isn't going to solve the issue of changing community culture.”

Although awareness campaigns in the media and government are vocal on domestic violence being unacceptable, Sgt Walter said it was not enough.

"As the stigma is decreasing, women are becoming more vocal but there are victims still too frightened to come forward.

"If you notice things 'off' with family members, friends or work colleagues, have a chat and offer them support.”


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