SA Police's Paul Featherstone reveals damning stats, shame at 2019 Murray Bridge domestic violence vigil

Sometimes, Paul Featherstone says, he is ashamed to be a man.

The SA Police officer in charge of Murray Bridge's family violence intervention section spoke on the city's riverfront on Wednesday, at an annual vigil held in memory of the 69 Australians killed by a partner or family member last year.

"I'm not sure when it happened, when men (began) to control, manipulate and marginalise their women," he said.

"I'm not sure when it became commonplace for men to kill, choke, assault and keep prisoner their women.

"As police, we confront it every day when we come to work."

Ninety-six per cent of victims of domestic violence were women, he said, and 80pc had children from a violent relationship.

One hundred per cent of perpetrators were male.

Otherwise, domestic violence did not discriminate: not between city and country, or between rich and poor.

In March of this year, 1684 cases of domestic violence were reported in South Australia.

Abuse was the result of a power imbalance, he said - in fact, the existance of that imbalance was abusive in and of itself.

"They see themselves as more important, and they don't care what they do," he said.

"They'll use whatever tools they have to manipulate and get their own way."

Women who endured abuse were forever changed, he said; as were their children, too many of whom grew up and abused others in turn.

How could the cycle be broken?

Sergeant Featherstone did not think domestic violence would ever stop being a problem.

But the organisations working to help survivors, and educate the wider community, were still doing good.

"It's a matter of never giving up," he said.

"At the end of the day, we're slowly sending a message to the men who do these things that it's not acceptable, we won't tolerate it, and there will be consequences."


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