Woollahra domestic violence figures stable Green thumbs

By Ashlee Betteridge

Reports of domestic violence in the Woollahra municipality have remained steady, despite an overall rise in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Figures released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics last month showed that during 2007, domestic violence related assaults reported in the eastern suburbs rose by 20.6 per cent on the previous year, with 673 incidents reported. But in the Woollahra municipality, assault reports remained stable over the 2006 and 2007 period. While domestic violence officers from other eastern suburbs police commands such as Maroubra have said education campaigns are bringing more reports forward, the steady figure in the Woollahra area could be explained by the area’s wealthy demographic. Domestic violence officer for the Rose Bay Command, Senior Constable Keryn Delaney, said that domestic abuse can take on different

forms in wealthier areas. “It could be emotional and psychological rather than physical violence,” Sen Const Delaney said. “I guess some people do think that because it’s pretty affluent around here, that sort of thing doesn’t happen. It can happen to everyone, anywhere, though,” she said. “Also, people might not come to us as much, they may go down different avenues with how they deal with it, for example they might use private solicitors rather than coming to the station.” “In some of the higher density housing areas also, you get more complaints from neighbours hearing domestic disputes, but in this area, people tend to live on big blocks and you’ve got no idea what’s going on next door. There’s all sorts of different factors.” The co-ordinator of the Waverley Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme, who did not wish to be named, said the number

“I guess some people do think that because it’s pretty affluent around here, that sort of thing doesn’t happen. It can happen to everyone, anywhere, though.”
- Senior Constable Keryn Delaney

to get drawing

of domestic violence cases going to court had increased in the last year. The assistance scheme, funded by Legal Aid, helps women from Woollahra, Waverley and other eastern suburbs local government areas take out apprehended domestic violence orders in Waverley Local Court. But the co-ordinator said funding shortfalls still plagued eastern suburbs domestic violence services. “We are quite stretched, and especially need more funding for counselling services for women and children,” she said.

In celebration of World Environment Day on June 5, Woollahra Council is running a World Environment Day Drawing Competition for all primary school students in the area. Students need to draw a colour picture on the theme of waste and write a maximum ten word slogan to go with it. Entries close June 12. The winner in each age category will have their drawing and slogan printed on a giant sticker and placed on a Woollahra Council waste collection vehicle plus receive a book voucher to the value of $50. All competition entries will go on display at Woollahra Council. The school that submits the most entries will win $200 worth of native plants and a horticulturalist to help plant them on National Schools Tree Day on Friday July 25. Send entries to Jane Lewis, Woollahra Council, PO Box 61, Double Bay NSW 1360, or hand deliver to 536 New South Head Road, Double Bay. For more information phone 9391 7095.