On the eve of White Ribbon Day, the culmination of a global anti domestic violence movement, a Central Hunter police inspector revealed officers were visiting 20 domestic violence incidents in the Lower Hunter every day.
The latest crime figures showed that domestic assaults in Maitland were almost double the state average.
Detective Inspector Mitch Dubojski said the number was not out of the ordinary for this time of year.
He said increased alcohol consumption mixed with warmer weather often led to more call-outs.
The CEO of domestic violence service Carrie’s Place, Jan McDonald, agreed that there was an intersection between alcohol and domestic violence, but stressed that it was never an excuse.
“There is no excuse,” Ms McDonald said.
“If you know that you get violent when you drink, then don’t drink, or go the hell away from everybody.
“Don’t make someone else suffer or be a victim.”
Detective Inspector Dubojski said the issue took up a lot of police time and resources.
“It puts a strain on the cops day-to-day,” he said.
Detective Inspector Dubojski acknowledged the effect the situation had on Carrie’s Place.
Ms McDonald said that, anecdotally, the Christmas season was a particularly difficult time.
This was reflected in high crime statistics in February, when matters went to court.
Ms McDonald said the combination of families coming together, alcohol and financial problems was a recipe for potential bad choices around violence.
The effect on Carrie’s Place was about double that on police, Ms McDonald said.
Ms McDonald said no more than 50 per cent of victims that came into their service at any time had engaged with police.
“We still have women, who for a number of valid reasons, won’t go near police,” Ms McDonald said.
On top of this, Ms McDonald said they estimated that for every woman they saw, there were two who weren’t yet asking for support.
This was based on the premise that victims suffered domestic violence for eight years before they approached Carrie’s Place.
In the 12 months to June 2016, the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showed Maitland recorded a domestic violence rate of 666.5 per 100,000 compared to the NSW average of 388.6.