Police unit to focus on family violence

FAMILY VIOLENCE TEAM: Senior Constable Robert Kidd, Constable Sarah Edwards and Sergeant Stephen Beavis make up Wangaratta’s Family Violence Unit. PHOTO: Luke Plummer

A NEW police unit has been set-up in Wangaratta this week, with three officers now dedicated solely to responding to and helping victims of family violence.

The Family Violence Unit (FVU) is made up of Sergeant Stephen Beavis, Senior Constable Robert Kidd and Constable Sarah Edwards, who will cover the Wangaratta Police Service Area including the Rural City of Wangaratta and Alpine and Moira shires.

Wangaratta averages about seven reported incidents of domestic violence each week and Sgt Beavis said the recent increase in reporting means there is more work to warrant a specialist response group.

“We’ve got the time to go out and investigate,” he said.

The FVU’s roles will include responding to serious family violence incidents, investigating criminal offences including assaults and intervention orders breaches, and working with local organisations on getting both victims and offenders into the right programs.

“It’s not just the victims we want to help,” Sgt Beavis said.

“We’re going to be proactive; whether it’s going to be patrols, knocking on doors.”

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