TAKING THE OATH: Crs Jason O'Pray and John Connolly speak out with Supt Darryl Johnson.
TAKING THE OATH: Crs Jason O'Pray and John Connolly speak out with Supt Darryl Johnson. Melanie Keyte

Community seeks to combat significant rise in domestic violence figures

CULTURAL change is at the heart of the Sunshine Coast's latest push to combat concerning statistics on family and domestic violence.

This Friday, which is the official White Ribbon Day, councillors, police officers and members of the public have been invited to take an oath to speak out against violence against women.

Chair of the Sunshine Coast White Ribbon Committee Superintendent Darryl Johnson said there had been significant increases in the number of domestic violence incidents reported to police.

"As a police officer, it is really concerning, and I'm disturbed, at the nature of domestic violence incidents which occur,” he said.

"Our applications for domestic violence orders are increasingly significantly, around 20% annually and our breaches have had around a 40% increase.”

To combat these rising figures, a council spokesperson said the committee was working to implement a program titled Breaking the Silence in schools, which is aimed at driving social change towards speaking out against violence.

They said to end men's violence against women, everyone must stand up, speak out and act, adding that silence and inaction would allow violence to continue.

Superintendent Johnson said strategies such as these were a good first step, but pointed out that such a change would not happen overnight.

"This sort of change is generational, and so we're not going to see results quickly,” he said.

"What we do encourage is when a person sees someone behaving inappropriately, to actually intervene and tell them to stop.

"It could be a small comment, a gesture, or physical violence.”

The Sunshine Coast District Officer also said everyone had a responsibility in normalising speaking out, which is why days like Friday were important for the community.

"It's about people having the courage to actually take on others and make it stop.

"I think the more the message is out in community, it becomes easier for people to play a part in alternating the behaviours & attitudes of people around them.”

The oath-swearing ceremony will take place at council's Nambour Chambers at 10am November 25.