Less domestic violence as Glen Innes crime rate continues drop

In stats released this week, police recorded 54 acts of domestic violence in the year to September, compared to just 43 non-domestic assaults.
In stats released this week, police recorded 54 acts of domestic violence in the year to September, compared to just 43 non-domestic assaults.

Crime has continued to decline in Glen Innes according to the latest statistics, but the town's residents continue to commit most violence within the family.

In stats released this week, police recorded 54 acts of domestic violence in the year to September, compared to just 43 non-domestic assaults.

But it's such an improvement one support services worker said the town can be used as an example of what to do to fight domestic violence. Domestic violence has more than halved since 2016, when Glen Innes had the third worst rate of domestic assault in NSW.

The violent crime rate has declined significantly even in the last year, with the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research measuring 69 domestic violence assaults in 2018, and 77 other assaults at the same time last year.

And long term statistics show the town's violent crime rate is down 5.6 per cent over the last five years and down 17 per cent over the last two years.

The Safe in our Town Committee has been fighting to drive down domestic violence since 2016 by issuing educational stickers, posters and other instructional materials among other activities.

AWARENESS: Louise Morley and Laurie Newsome from Safe in Our Town committee in 2017.

AWARENESS: Louise Morley and Laurie Newsome from Safe in Our Town committee in 2017.

Chairperson Laurie Newsome said there's still further to go - but he's proud of what the committee and allied organisations have been able to achieve.

"I think that there's probably more room for further awareness," he said.

"I think it needs to be more progress in that area because if one person suffers from domestic violence - just one person - that's not good."

In his opinion Glen Innes can be used as an lesson for other communities as a roadmap of how to fight domestic violence "to some extent".

"Each community has its own different dynamics," he said.

"The interaction of the Safe in Our Town network was largely important because it allowed the police to be involved in reflections."

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The committee helped coordinate a range of support services and other organisations, and the chairperson was quick to give credit to a range of allied organisations like the police, the Glen Ines Severn council, businesses, the community centre, average residents, UNE, and the Australian National Research Organisation for Women's Safety for the result.

But at the end of the day, domestic violence is a gendered crime - and teaching men and boys to respect women is the best, cheapest way to stop it early.

And Glen Innes, like Australia, continues to hold attitudes that cause gender inequality, he said - so the Safe in Our Town Committee will continue its work.

"I'd say some people do commit domestic violence and they might not think that it's wrong," said Laurie.

Less stealing in New England region

Glen Innes residents are also committing less property crime, with a mere 55 break and entry offences in 2019, down from 57, and 64 stealing offences, down from 68. Fourteen cars were stolen, the same number as last year.

Property crime is dropping across the entire New England and North West region, down 7.6 per cent from last year.

Glen Innes' sexual offending rate is also down, bucking a trend of increasing rates of sexual assault across our region.

The New England and North West Region suffered a 20.5 per cent increase in sexual assault over the last two years, and now has double the state average. The trend is driven by a 36 per cent increase in Armidale. The town reported 56 sexual assaults, up from 41 last year. In Glen Innes, police reported 17 sexual assaults, up from 12.