Police have arrested 58 people over the holidays in the Darwin region alone, during a crackdown on domestic violence following a 17 per cent spike in order breaches in the Northern Territory during 2020.
- NT Police used their data to identify offenders and conducted 226 patrols to known hotspots
- 58 people were arrested over the three-week operation targeting domestic violence
- Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the Northern Territory has the nation’s highest victimisation rate for family and domestic violence-related offences
Operation Sherman was run by NT Police from December 14 until January 3 and resulted in 48 new domestic violence orders (DVOs) being served and 118 victim support assessments.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Warren Scott led the operation and said police targeted “repeat and high-risk domestic violence offenders”.
“We need to try and educate these offenders on the responsibilities in regards to DVOs,” he said.
During the operation, one 25-year-old man received 11 charges following two domestic violence incidents — including threat to kill, aggravated assault and going armed in public.
Charges were also laid against a 53-year-old man on New Year’s Eve after a woman was stabbed in an attack that left her with a punctured her lung and significant blood loss.
Senior Sergeant Scott said the operation used police data to identify repeat domestic violence offenders and victims so they could visit them at their homes.
He said they had conducted 226 patrols of known “hotspots”, which included residential addresses and public areas.
“With going to the residential addresses, it’s not just purely for DVO compliance. We are also there to try and provide education, check on people’s welfare and try to encompass quite a few things in the one visit,” he said.
“There are arrest targets for serious DV-related offending, [and for] people with outstanding domestic violence warrants and the service of domestic violence orders.”
Local shelter ‘absolutely at capacity’
Senior Sergeant Scott said Aboriginal community police officers were also providing local organisations education and training on how to provide support and refer people on to the correct services.
It is something that is sorely needed, according to the team at the local women and children’s shelter.
Dawn House Women and Children’s Shelter team leader Nicky Fearn said they had been stretched trying to cope with demand over the past few months.
“We have noticed there has been a spike in demand for accommodation, domestic violence order legal issues, medical issues. Everything thing has become more intense.”
Severity of injuries worsening
Ms Fearn said shelter staff were also concerned by the worsening severity of injuries.
“We’ve been getting a higher number of referrals from Royal Darwin Hospital where the injuries have been really significant and also from remote communities where the degree of injury has been very high,” she said.
Ms Fearn said police action to ensure compliance with DVO’s was necessary and that victims needed the orders put in place quickly and efficiently.
“The police need to follow up all breaches swiftly, otherwise there is no point,” she said.
“The rate of homicides really needs to be reduced so any initiatives or education is of benefit.”
Senior Sergeant Scott said the police were out in force over the holiday period.
“This time of year is renowned for people having a drink, and having quite a few drinks, but the evidence shows that excessive alcohol consumption is a driver and contributing factor for domestic violence,” he said.
“You can call police on 131 444, call triple-0 in an emergency. You can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or 1800 RESPECT.”