Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command urge the community to report domestic violence incidents

New team: Domestic violence operatives Lachlan Gunn and newly appointed Penny Andrew (Great Lakes) want the community to report domestic violence. Photo: Laura Polson.

New team: Domestic violence operatives Lachlan Gunn and newly appointed Penny Andrew (Great Lakes) want the community to report domestic violence. Photo: Laura Polson.

“YOU have an obligation to act”. Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command domestic violence operative Senior Constable Lachlan Gunn is urging the community to confront domestic violence head on by reporting it to police.

“The best way anyone in the community can help is if they know someone in an unhappy domestic relationship, report it and help them get the help they need,” he said. 

“It is in no way the fault of the victim – they need to be supported to live the happy and healthy life they are entitled to. Noone has a right to intimidate any individual – let alone anyone they love.” 

Lachlan said it takes courage for victims to leave “controlling and manipulative relationships”, but there is support out there. 

“People can come see me even if it’s just for advice or hearing what their options are,” he said. 

Lachlan has held the specialised role for seven years covering issues from Bulahdelah to Coopernook and as far as Gloucester. 

In the last month the command has received a second domestic violence operative Senior Constable Penny Andrew, who will oversea the Great Lakes area.

Penny has 13 years experience in the role and has worked in Walgett, Moree and Griffiths. 

Lachlan and Penny’s role is to monitor domestic violence incidents closely, ensuring nothing is missed out. 

“When an officer attends to a domestic violence situation there can be a number of issues,” Lachlan said. 

“You are entering a very heated and emotional situation where drugs and alcohol might be involved. There could also be children there. You need to be able to evaluate the situation very quickly.

“I take my hat off to my colleagues in the front line who put in all the hard work.”

The role also involves linking in with other related services in the area. 

Penny said compared to other areas she has worked in, this community is lucky to have a variety of services, including disability services. 

Both Lachlan and Penny said it is paramount they network between other services and share information. 

“The networking process allows the free flow of information,” Lachlan said. 

Lachlan and Penny are looking forward to the progress that can be made in the area by having two domestic violence operatives as well as with new Safety Action Meetings (SAM).

The fortnightly meeting will draw together police and related services from the area for an in-person meeting where they will discuss high risk domestic violence cases and where each agency can assist. 

Safer Pathways launch 

Manning Great Lakes Local Area Commander Peter Thurtell, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward, member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead and co-ordinator of MidCoast Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Louise Webber at Taree Courthouse.

Manning Great Lakes Local Area Commander Peter Thurtell, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward, member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead and co-ordinator of MidCoast Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Louise Webber at Taree Courthouse.

Re-living the harmful memories inside a domestic violence situation can only be described as traumatic. 

A program from the State government called Safer Pathways aims to lessen the impact on victims by integrating services. 

The program brings together local representatives in Safety Action Meetings (SAM) including police, health, corrections, family and community services and education along with local specialist non-government domestic and family violence services, creating a streamlined referral pathway for victims who are ‘at threat’ or ‘at serious threat’ to their life, health or safety. 

Minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault Pru Goward visited Taree Police station Wednesday, November 23 to launch the program. 

She was joined by Manning Great Lakes Local Area Commander Peter Thurtell, co-ordinator of MidCoast Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Louise Webber and member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead.  

The service will be co-ordinated by the MidCoast Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service. The service has a long history of providing professional advocacy and support for women who have experienced domestic violence.

“Under Safer Pathway victims have a single contact point – a specialised domestic and family violence worker – who links victims with the services they need, when they need them,” Ms Goward said.

Increased services include: 

  • MidCoast Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service have received one new full time worker and two part time 
  • Fortnightly SAM (Safety Action Meetings) involving all relevant services
  • New position of a domestic violence operative for Great Lakes senior constable Penny Andrew
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