Domestic violence: are we paying attention?

In the world of news, stories and trends fade in and out of the spotlight in a heartbeat.

A phenomenon can drive the world crazy one day and be nothing but a distant memory the next – remember Pokemon Go? Remember Harambe?

While those examples remain relatively popular in your day-to-day scroll through your news feed, it poses the question: are we becoming numb to more important issues, like domestic violence?

The issue itself probably gets more attention now than it ever has through TV commercials, news stories and events like White Ribbon Day – but are those methods having less impact than they once did?

Take for example the creepy clown craze dominating your daily news intake at the moment.

On Friday, October 7, the Mandurah Mail posted a story to its Facebook page about the horrifying pranksters hitting the streets.

The article rapidly spread across online circles, with 23,000 individuals clicking on it collecting a total of 96,000 hits.

On Facebook, it had a reach of 144,637 people, garnered 338 reactions, 899 comments and was shared a whopping 600 times.

Five days later, the Mail published a story about domestic violence rates in the suburb of Falcon being at an all-time high, with alcohol-fueled violence and assault putting the area in the spotlight.

“According to a report by Public Health and Police released in July, alcohol-related domestic assault offences in Falcon have sky-rocketed in the last three years, staying consistently above the state rate,” the story read.

“In 2015 alone there were 32 alcohol-related domestic assault offences in the suburb, 15 more than two years before, in 2013.

“That translates into 6.8 out of 1000 people committing some sort of domestic assault offence in 2015, a figure well above the Mandurah and state rate, both at 2.8.”

Despite the extremely alarming stats shown by the report, the story peaked at just 493 visitors, a mere 2.14 per cent of the clown craze.

A little bit of slack has to be given here. The clown phenomenon is unique to society while domestic violence stories feature in the news frequently.

But that means the difference between people who clicked on a story about clowns walking the street compared to a story about a frightening rise in domestic abuse was 22,507 – an alarming number to say the least.

Services in the Peel region to assist victims of domestic abuse include:

  • Pat Thomas House: 08 9535 4775
  • White Ribbon: 1800 199 00808
  • Allambee Counselling: 08 9535 8263

To report an incident related to family and domestic violence, victims should call police on 131 444.