Be there for someone this Christmas

Christmas is not always the happiest time of the year, particularly for vulnerable members of our community and those who may feel unsafe in their homes or relationships.

Partnering with Griffith University’s Motivating Action Through Empowerment (MATE) Bystander program, police are reminding community members of the tools available to help those in unsafe relationships.

Over recent years, statistics show a rise in domestic violence occurrences across the holiday period, particularly on Boxing and New Year’s Day.

Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said while most Queenslanders found this time of year an occasion of joy and celebration, those in unsafe or controlling relationships could have a far different experience.

“One of the most dangerous places for vulnerable members of our community is not on our streets, it’s behind closed doors,” Assistant Commissioner Codd said.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own home but sadly this is not always the case for many members of our community.

“Police are often called to domestic violence incidents at a point of crisis where it can be difficult to resolve issues. One of the most effective ways we can make a difference to those who may be experiencing this is by reaching out to support to someone who may need it and the Be There app gives you tools to do this safely and effectively.”

Established in 2021, the Be There app is a bystander empowerment tool which provides information on how you can learn the signs, connect the dots and remember the moments that matter to support those who need a safe space.

Director of Griffith University’s MATE and Be There program Shaan Ross-Smith said for many people, Christmas was filled with fear, intimidation and dread.

“It’s important to see ourselves as active bystanders,” she said.

“So often, we see, hear or sense something that isn’t ok but don’t act on it because we’re unsure what the right thing to do is.

“Be There gives you this information so you can send messages of help to those experiencing domestic violence and messages of accountability to those who think it’s acceptable to be controlling or violent.

“Together we can ensure that everyone feels safe this Christmas and Be There when it matters.”

For more information on how you can be an active bystander please download the free Be There app today.

Statistics – domestic and family violence occurrences over the holiday period:

  • Since 2019, domestic and family violence occurrences over the Christmas and New Year period have increased by 22% (2,096 – 2,558).
  • During the 2021 Christmas and New Year period, police responded to 2,558 domestic and family violence occurrences (from 22 December 2021 to 2 January 2022).
  • In 2021, the days of highest demand for police responses to domestic and family violence were Boxing Day, with police responding to 270 occurrences and New Year’s Day with 254 occurrences.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, you should report it to police.

Support and counselling is available from the following agencies:

More information is also available from the Queensland Government Domestic and Family Violence portal.

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