Domestic violence forums at Murray Bridge high schools

SYMBOLIC: Students released 27 balloons, each one marks the death of a woman or child at the hands of domestic violence in 2017. Photo: Emmalie Balnaves-Gale.

SYMBOLIC: Students released 27 balloons, each one marks the death of a woman or child at the hands of domestic violence in 2017. Photo: Emmalie Balnaves-Gale.

At the Unity College awareness assembly, Senior Constable Charisse Cooper answered a series of questions prepared by the students.

UNITED: Unity College year 12 student Brayden Martin and year 11 student Jake Woodhouse with the display of anti-domestic violence t-shirts designed by students.

UNITED: Unity College year 12 student Brayden Martin and year 11 student Jake Woodhouse with the display of anti-domestic violence t-shirts designed by students.

Why is dv a big problem?

I can speak from personal experience with some family members who are now elderly ladies and my mother talks about how one of my aunties would come home black and blue and that was 60 years ago.

AWARENESS: Murray Bridge police officers Charisse Cooper and Karen Newman spoke at Unity College to educate students about the impact of domestic violence.

AWARENESS: Murray Bridge police officers Charisse Cooper and Karen Newman spoke at Unity College to educate students about the impact of domestic violence.

Because of days like this, because of awareness, because governments are on board, its becoming so aware that statistics look like they are going up because people are actually having the confidence to report but it’s always been there.

Is their a common profile of a dv offender?

Domestic violence comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be the unemployed person who has never held a job and lives in a low socio-economic street, it can be someone highly educated, it can be the bloke who is the life of the party. There is no set mould.

You might know one side of them and they go home, close the door and they turn into something completely different.

Why don’t victims leave?

You’re dealing with people sometimes who have been stuck in a situation for many years, they have been programmed. Imagine waking up every day being told “you are useless”, “you cannot cope without me”, “you won’t even get a job”, “no one else will have you”.

They are often financially dependent or might be scared of the repercussions if they leave.

What are the signs of the beginning of a dv relationship?

If there is an equality issue or you are being controlled or experiencing physical abuse. Today isn’t just about someone hitting you in the face or pushing you, it is about the emotional abuse, the psychological abuse, the financial abuse.

Love is supposed to be equal and respectful, if you don’t feel respected and your opinions don’t matter and you are feeling threatened then I would suggest you think about whether the relationship is for you.

How do you talk to someone you suspect is experiencing dv?

If someone is not ready to talk, they are not going to.

It is a big thing for someone to take that leap of faith because they are about to change their whole life.

If someone comes to school with a black eye, quiz them carefully. Be supportive; be a friend. When the time is right and the person feels strong and comfortable, they’ll start to tell you.

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